dog on a boat kissing a whale shark in the ocean
Adventuresome dog kissing a whale shark like kissing cousins

Can a dog and a shark be kissing cousins? You may not think so right now but wait until you read this true story. It is about an adventuresome Labrador Retriever and a Whale Shark caught kissing in the ocean!

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Meet 8 year old Sailor who happily enjoys life in Australia with her owner, Jade Pursell. Both of whom happen to love adventures and the outdoors.

White Labrador Retriever on the beach
Sailor before photo of her being Kissing Cousins with a whale shark

Many people take their dogs with them on adventures. However, few (if any) take it to the level this pair has become famous for achieving.

Labradors are known to be extremely friendly and to have a very high energy level. It makes sense that they are very active and love adventure. This Lab was blessed to belong to  an adventure-loving woman who included her in her outings.

Pursell takes Sailor with her swimming, hiking and even when boating. One of her fairly recent adventures is now taking Sailor “viral”.

white dog walking near water

This is one of Pursell’s favorite photos of Sailor. Here, she is enjoying the waterfalls and swimming to her heart’s content. Pursell is happy to see Sailor enjoying herself.

As far back as 2016, Jade Pursell commented on Facebook, “Life gets a little heavy sometimes and sailor definitely makes mine better, you know what they say pet owners live longer.”

Pursell is a tour guide in Western Australia for a company called Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours. This should give you a hint of the kinds of adventures she is likely to enjoy.

It is not unusual for her to have encounters of an up close and personal kind with various creatures of the sea. It is just part and parcel of her job, so to speak.

However, they recently had a spectacular adventure unlike any other they have ever had before! She observed Sailor demonstrate her Kissing Cousins type behavior with a very unlikely partner.

A Sailing Adventure That Led To The Famous Kissing Cousins Photo That Went Viral


Sailor was sitting happily on the back of the boat. Pursell observed a 22-foot whale shark approach the boat. The curious sea creature came close enough to investigate the strange animal sitting on the boat.

Ever so briefly, the two animals touch. The two appear to kiss. But, maybe they just  “booped” one another out of genuine curiosity.

dog on a boat kissing a whale shark in the ocean
Adventuresome dog kissing a whale shark like kissing cousins

Pursell took a video of the unusual interaction between Sailor and the whale shark. When she shared in on social media it quickly “went viral”.

Those fortunate enough to view the video found the once-in-a-lifetime moment shared by this odd couple to be heart-warming. (see video at the end of this article)

Pursell told the Mirror that “Sailor had never met a whale shark before. I always hoped she would, but that was by far better than I had ever imagined.”

She continued, “I was telling her not to touch it, but neither of them listened to me. Sailor sniffed and kissed the shark. I was so happy. To see Sailor meet a whale shark, I honestly just felt overjoyed. Animals are incredible, and it couldn’t have gone any better. I wondered if she knew or could smell that this was the animal I swim with everyday.”

Initially, Pursell thought that the shark was attracted by her diving partner’s movement. She had jumped into the water and was making bubbles. It seemed that the shark was intrigued by the bubbles.

“At first I thought the whale shark liked the bubbles coming from the movement of the boat in the swell, but then it raised its head out of the water to look into the boat.”

However, she was finally convinced that the shark had seen Sailor and was curious. She had to investigate this strange looking animal.

…and then came the kiss

“I don’t know whether it was the squeaking noise Sailor was making in excitement or whether it could sense her, but they were face to face and then came the kiss” Pursell explained.

Some people expressed concern about such a large whale shark being so close to the Sailor. It was a shark, after all! Luckily, this particular kind of shark isn’t a carnivore and they are known to be mild-mannered. There was no real danger to Sailor.

Even so, there was a moment of concern for Pursell. “My initial worry was that she might take a leap of faith onto the shark or that she would touch it,” Pursell said. “Once the shark was so close to her I knew I had nothing to worry about.”

At the end of it all says Pursell, “It was such an innocent interaction, I felt so lucky to see it. To think Sailor is probably the only dog in the world to have kissed a whale shark is pretty special.”


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Here are two more stories about an odd “couple”.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal. Photos and video credited to Facebook


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As Wife, Mother of 5, and Nana of many more, I have known and loved many dogs who were treasured members of our family. My education, experiences in showing, breeding, and developing pedigree-based breeding programs for others gives me a strong background upon which to base articles of interest to most dog lovers. However, it is my great love for dogs that gives me the passion to share them with other dog lovers.


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