An adventurous, salt-water-loving dog from Langley may have gotten more than she bargained for when she decided to go swimming with a massive cetacean a few weeks ago.
Five-year-old golden retriever Tippy went viral when a video of her swimming, undaunted, next to a gray whale near Sandy Point on July 26 surfaced on Yahoo News. The whale appears to be right under her, occasionally raising a flipper. Several voices attempt to call the wayward pooch back to shore, but Tippy continues happily splashing around.
“Everybody’s screaming, ‘Tippy come back.’ They didn’t know what was happening and were probably imagining the worst case scenario,” said John Derlega, who recorded the video. It can be viewed on his Instagram page, @the_district_chef.
Derlega, a Washington D.C. resident, is the son-in-law of Susan Merry, who owns Tippy. He took the video while vacationing on Whidbey Island.
Merry, a Langley resident, said this is not the first time that Tippy has cozied up to a whale. Just two days before the video, she did the same thing, but it was not recorded that time.
“The first time was scary enough, but the second time I grabbed for her collar and had the leash close by but not close enough,” Merry said. “She knocked me to the sand and just kept going, not to be deterred.”
Tippy has been known to play with seals, otters and other marine wildlife and enjoys spending hours trying to catch flounders. When at the beach, the dog prefers swimming over walking.
At one point during the recent whale encounter, it looked like the whale raised its head to see what was there and kept on moving.
“It never occurred to me that the gray (whale) would intentionally hurt her – they’re just looking for ghost shrimp – but they’re so massive,” Merry said.
Tippy, named after a ski resort in Montana, has spent her whole life on Whidbey Island.
Merry recalled a time when Tippy was about 6 months old, watching the boats come and go on the water. It was as if she was smiling and thinking she was lucky to be on the island, Merry said, like so many others have also thought.