A fearless dog swam after a shark in Florida last week, startling its owner and chasing the oceanic predator away from a Pinellas County pier, as terrified beachgoers watched.
Karin McArdle owns a chocolate Labrador named Tootsie, according to Bay News 9, a curious dog that enjoys chasing dolphins in the waters off Crystal Beach. Well known in the area, the dog regularly entertains beachgoers who recognize her by name, yet their enjoyment turned to abject fear last week after Tootsie spied a fin that belonged not to a dolphin, but instead to a shark.
“She was swimming underneath the pier looking for her fishies. And some people said, ‘oh look there are a couple of shark out there,'” McArdle recalled.
— GetReelGetFish (@GRGFLLC) April 14, 2015
As concerned beachgoers watched, the dog swam directly after the shark. A bystander managed to capture the event on video, and shocked observers can be heard screaming for the dog as parents tell their children to look away, sure that Tootsie’s fate is sealed.
McArdle noted that she was utterly terrified as her dog drew ever nearer the shark.
“She just showed no fear, and was not listening, and she’s normally very obedient,” the fraught owner said. “I thought, ‘oh my God my dog’s going to be gone, going to be fish fodder, shark bait!'”
Incredulously, the encounter proved to be short, and the shark appeared not to be bothered by Tootsie’s presence. Much to the relief of its owner, the dog simply investigated the shark before turning back to shore.
“She went up to the tail of that shark, sniffed it, said ‘ok,’ turned around and that shark just swam on.”
Surprisingly, Tootsie isn’t the only dog to survive a close encounter with a shark. Last year, a man in New Zealand nearly lost his pet to a bronze whaler shark while he walked the canine along a popular beach. As the Inquisitr previously reported, he spotted the shark as it began investigating his dog, coaxing the animal out of the surf before the predator could close in.
Various species of shark are plentiful in Florida waters at this time of the year, as the oceanic predators undergo their yearly migrations. Last week, a bobcat was even spotted dragging a small shark out of the surf, according to National Geographic, resulting in a photo that quickly went viral.
Bystanders told McArdle that Tootsie should be renamed Lucky, and while she hasn’t yet followed their advice, the dog’s owner is simply happy that her pet survived its memorable encounter with a shark in the Florida surf.
[Image via Bay News 9]