When Piper, a hardworking Border Collie from Michigan, is not chasing birds from the runways at Cherry Capital Airport or boosting morale among workers, this support dog knows how to relax – he recently embarked on his very first skydive. While his daily uniform of ski goggles, Mutt Muffs headphones, and specially made boots, which protect him from the elements as he works, ensure that Piper always looks ready for adventure, he had yet to conquer the skies until recently.
Step forward Jimmy Hatch, the owner of nonprofit organization Spikes K9 Fund. Following several military deployments, during which his life was safeguarded numerous times by the dogs working alongside troops, Jimmy decided that he desperately wanted to repay the canines that put people's lives before their own. Using a specially adapted vest and his trusty goggles, Piper was finally able to experience a plane's eye view while strapped to Jimmy – a view he's unlikely to ever forget.
Pet parent Brian Edwards, who trains Piper each day, made sure that the pup wasn't daunted during his first free fall: "For Pipe's first jump, Jimmy decided on 5,000 FT, less time in the plane and free fall, just to make sure we didn't over do it." If the images of Piper's ears flapping in the breeze are anything to go by, though, the pup was ecstatic to be experiencing such freedom.
Piper, who regularly works ten-hour shifts in order to keep the airport's runways free from birds, is thought to be the only support dog working such a role in Michigan – and one of only ten across the whole of America.
What did Piper think of his very first skydive? Commenting on the video, which is taking the Internet by storm, Brian says: "As you can see, Piper is a BOSS. He can’t wait to go again!"
The Collie apparently shook himself off and walked happily away, proving that this is one adrenalin junkie that’ll certainly be back for more.