Dog’s first orca sighting leaves it barkless

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A good dog knows how to doggie paddle, but when its name is Sailor, it’s a safe bet that the happy pooch will be spending more than a little time at sea.

Case in point is this adorable yellow lab, who met his first pod of orcas this week. As the killer whales splash around him, he seems utterly enchanted, the only sign of his excitement his furiously wagging tail. Kate Butler is Sailor’s owner, and she brought him on a cruise around the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington. She was hoping to spot a nearby pod of Southern Resident orcas in the area, and was not disappointed. Neither was Sailor.

“He didn’t even bark throughout this whole encounter, and Sailor barks at just about everything,” recalled Butler. “He was so excited that when we got off the boat he peed for 10 minutes.” As the group of killer whales approached the boat, they began slapping their tails as if greeting Sailor, who watched on in rapt silence. James Gresham witnessed the encounter from a nearby boat, and snapped a few photographs of his perspective of the happy encounter.

“That was a great encounter,” recalled Gresham. “Most of the Southern Residents were there in a super pod and they were in an especially social mood that day.” A “super pod” occurs when different matriarchal pods of orca join together. It’s likely that this highly social event filled the whales with an above-average sense of friendliness.