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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Unbelievable Footage Captures Moment Labrador Retriever Kisses Gigantic Whale Shark

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Plenty of dog owners like to take their pups out on adventures, but few pups are as adventurous as Sailor, an 8-year-old Labrador retriever who hails from Australia.

Labs are active dogs, known for their general friendliness and high energy, and Sailor ended up with a sweet deal in her owner, who loves adventure just as much as Sailor does.

“Life gets a little heavy sometimes and sailor definitely makes mine better, you know what they say pet owners live longer,” owner Jade Pursell posted on Facebook back in 2016.

Sailor gets to go hiking, swimming, boating — and now she’s going viral for an adorable moment that took place on a recent outing.

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Pursell works as a tour guide for Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours in Exmouth, Western Australia. She gets up close and personal with all kinds of sea creatures as part of her job, but on a recent trip out she watched a bond form between an unlikely pair.

While Sailor was perched on the back of the boat, Pursell watched as a 22-foot whale shark came up and investigated. They touch, briefly, appearing to kiss or “boop” one another in friendly curiosity.

The video, which Pursell took and shared on social media, went viral. Viewers found the odd couple absolutely heartwarming, and Pursell was happy the share the once-in-a-lifetime moment.

“Sailor had never met a whale shark before,” she said, according to Mirror. “I always hoped she would, but that was by far better than I had ever imagined.

“I was telling her not to touch it, but neither of them listened to me. Sailor sniffed and kissed the shark. I was so happy. To see Sailor meet a whale shark, I honestly just felt overjoyed. Animals are incredible, and it couldn’t have gone any better. I wondered if she knew or could smell that this was the animal I swim with everyday.”

At first, Pursell thought it was the movement caused by her diving partner that intrigued the friendly fish, but it kept inching closer and closer to the boat until she became convinced it had spotted Sailor and wanted to investigate.

“Jorja made a big leap into the water and the whale shark became intrigued by her bubbles,” she explained. “At first I thought the whale shark liked the bubbles coming from the movement of the boat in the swell, but then it raised its head out of the water to look into the boat.

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“I don’t know whether it was the squeaking noise Sailor was making in excitement or whether it could sense her, but they were face to face and then came the kiss.”

Some were concerned about the size and temperament of the whale shark, but the creatures are mild-mannered and feed on plankton, so Sailor wasn’t in danger of becoming a meal.

“My initial worry was that she might take a leap of faith onto the shark or that she would touch it,” Pursell said. “Once the shark was so close to her I knew I had nothing to worry about.

“It was such an innocent interaction, I felt so lucky to see it. To think Sailor is probably the only dog in the world to have kissed a whale shark is pretty special.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking