Chasing birds this pup's job

If playing all day is the life of a dog, then chasing birds as a career must be heaven for this new puppy-in-training.

Echo, a Hungarian mudi dog, came to Canada from Finland in June and started training to help manage wildlife at Vancouver International Airport.

Because YVR is on a migratory birth path, Echo and the wildlife team’s responsibility is to make sure the airfield is safe for both aircrafts and wildlife by finding birds that might cause a hazard and chasing them off.

The Hungarian mudi breed are known for their strong herding instincts and calm personalities.

“They have proven to be a great choice for YVR as the mudi is an active, intelligent breed that loves to work,” said Arnie Jassmann, airfield maintenance services manager at Vancouver airport authority. He added that the YVR wildlife team has partnered with an external dog trainer to select and train the dogs.

Jassmann said Echo will join Pilot, another dog on the wildlife team, “on the airfield from October to May when the largest flocking birds, like snow geese, are migrating through or wintering near YVR.” Echo is replacing team member Flight, a border collie, who is ready for retirement.

When Echo isn’t on the job, her favourite thing to do is to play with her mallard duck stuffed animal.

Echo is expected to graduate and start her job on the airfield at the end of summer in 2020.

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