A video has made its way around the Internet of an Australian Cattle dog with an extreme thirst for adventure. The video shows Dean Potter, a BASE-jumper and free climber from San Diego, jumping from a 13,000 foot mountain in the Swiss Alps with four-year-old Whisper attached to the back of his wing suit in a specially designed harness.
Soon to be the star of her own short film titled When Dogs Fly, Whisper has taken to extreme sports with ease. Potter says that he tested the harness first with stuffed animals and then with whisper on his motorcycle. A lot of dogs would have been terrified but not Whisper. She gets excited and ready for the next adventure every time her harness is brought out.
Although she is a star to some, many people view this as animal cruelty. Potter knows this and explained his reasons for BASE jumping with a dog saying the following in a blog post:
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…Last summer when I was wingsuit BASE-jumping with Whisper she never once didn’t want to come along. In fact, whenever I put on my wingsuit or pack my parachute, little Whisper nestles close and begs to come along.
In no way do I want others to try to emulate what I do with Whisper without proper knowledge and training!
There are still ethical questions to be asked even if Whisper loves her new life as an extreme sports athlete. Base-jumping is extremely dangerous and many people say that it’s not if you’re going to crash, but when. Putting a dog at that much risk is considered irresponsible and cruel to many animal rights advocates.
All we can do is hope that Whisper truly loves her new hobby and that nothing bad happens to her or her owner. Potter is shopping When Dogs Fly and says that various networks including CNN, HBO, Discovery, and the National Geographic Channel have shown interest.