Before National Geographic even posted the trailer for When Dogs Fly on YouTube this week, the filmmaker responsible for it had already written a statement regarding his actions. On his website, Dean Potter responded to all of the people who thought that taking his cattledog, Whisper, with him on a BASE jumping adventure was a bad idea, and in the same way that he calmly and almost melodramatically set up that leap of two friends, he told his haterz to take a long walk off a short cliff. Okay, maybe not with such aggressive imagery, but Potter definitely doesn’t see what all the hubbub is about.
Basically, Potter wrote that he knows what he’s doing at all times, so Whisper is always safe, but what it all boils down to is that a dog is a dog, and all dogs want to party.
Our “best friends” have been following us humans around for as long as we’ve stood on two legs and probably before that. The lives of all creatures in the wild are never a sure thing and I find it odd how disconnected some people are from our symbiotic relationships with all living beings. Origin of the Domestic Dog.
Whisper is a Cattledog. She weighs 22-pounds and is bred to tell gigantic cows that weigh over a hundred times more than her what to do. This horrifies me! Lineage of Australian Cattle Dogs. For sure, this isn’t “safe” for dogs but for some reason, Whisper instinctually wants to herd other animals. Dogs do things that aren’t “safe” every day, but society has become used to them: livestock wrangling, assisting the military, helping law enforcement, fighting fires, search and rescue, hunting, driving without seatbelts. Note: Whenever our family drives with Whisper, she’s secured with her full-strength harness and clipped into the seatbelt. Though we recognize this isn’t a perfect fix, we do everything in our power to keep Whispy safe at all times. (Via Dean Potter’s blog)
Additionally, and probably more importantly, Potter described all of the safety equipment that he uses when going on adventures with Whisper to ensure all of us dog-lovers here on the ground that he’d never put her in harm’s way. Ultimately, it comes down to personal opinion.
I know my family’s adventures must scare a lot of you who have rarely or never been into the wild or are afraid of heights and exposure. We are all different, and in no way am I saying that my way is right and your way is wrong. I just want to let you all to know that we do everything possible to keep Whisper super safe, well beyond the equivalent safety of a human being in the same scenario…
Finally, I want you all to know that I do not force Whisper to do anything she doesn’t want to do. When we wake up in the morning, if Whisper wants to stay at home or camp, she is free to do so. This has never happened though and she always nips and yips at our heels and prods us to hop to it and get going.
It’s definitely a much more eloquent response than simply holding the dog up by its tail and shouting, “See? Does this dog look dead to you?”