That was before I knew of Darby a 1-year old pit-bull who confronted a shark and lived to wag the tail. This is Darby's story.
Darby's dad, James White, was fishing from the shore at Bodega Bay in Sonoma County, California. Darby stayed in the car overlooking the bay and wondered why he didn't just stay home and relax. Sometimes when we ask questions, we get answers we did not expect.
James hooked something big. He fought to bring it to shore. It took him ten minutes to land what turned out to be a sevengill shark. It wasn't just his fishing skills that helped him land the beast. The shark was swimming to shore as fast as he was being reeled in. Perhaps it was looking for lunch.
At this point, Mr. White's experience as a fisherman nearly led to his undoing. An inexperienced fisherman would have cut his line and thrown the shark in the sea. Mr. Brown thought he had the skill to save his line. He reached down to remove the hook from his prey's mouth; the fish mounted a counter-attack.
The shark twisted and bit down on Mr. Brown's ankle. It severed an artery. Blood began pumping out of his body covering the shore. To make a bad situation worse, the shark would not relinquish the hold. White jerked and turned, hit and kicked hoping the shark retreated. It was acting more like a fish who had caught a human than a fish caught by a human.
Meanwhile, Darby was just chilling in the car when he heard his dad scream for help. Sometimes, when our parents are in danger, we dogs let slip just how talented we are. Darby opened the car door, hoped his father would not notice his ability to do so, and rushed down the hill. Without a thought of his own safety, Darby attacked the shark's side biting its gills.
Unfortunately, this only caused the shark to tighten his grip. White tried to call Darby off, but they would not leave his human in danger. Realizing his first attempt was unsuccessful, Darby adopted a new tactic.
The only creature in nature who can match a shark's bite is a pit bull. Darby sunk his teeth into the shark's tail and locked on. He began to walk backward up the hill, dragging the shark until it relinquished hold of the leg.
When the shark was clear of his Dad, Darby let him go. Mr. Brown limped up the hill, grabbed the shark, and threw it into the sea.
Mr. Brown told everyone that Darby had saved his life. There would be no parades, no testimonial dinners, just the knowledge that his Dad is proud of him. To a dog that is enough.
And somewhere in the Pacific is a shark with a pit bull bite on its tail and a whale of a tale to tell.