A dog’s sense of smell is about 1,000 to 10,000 times better than human beings thanks to their over 220 million olfactory receptors. Thus, a canine’s incredibly powerful nose could help us sniff out bombs, drugs, and in this case, an aquatic marine mammal.
When 42-year-old Rich Wilcock went out fishing one Sunday morning, he had no idea that his beloved cocker spaniel would become a hero.
It was an overcast day in July 2015, and the sea was rough on Criccieth Beach in North Wales. Wilcock was taking photographs, then suddenly, his dog named Leia started being fussy and not her well behaved, normal self. Leia was almost 2 and tended to be on the calmer side.
The slender white-and-brown cocker spaniel was not following her master’s orders and instead was going a different direction. He called to her, but she seemed to insist that he was to follow her.
“I was taking photographs with my back turned and Leia was going nuts and barking at me and going back,” Wilcock said, according to The Leader. “She doesn’t usually bark or make that sort of sound.”
But then he understood.
Leia had found a baby dolphin, stranded on the rocks. Its blowhole was huffing and puffing—it was still alive!
“Leia, it’s a baby! You’ve found a baby! Oh my, good girl!” Wilcock proudly complemented his puppy.
Speaking to Daily Post, Wilcock said: “At first I thought it was a baby shark, it was only about one and half foot but on a closer inspection I could see the blow hole on top of his head and realized it was a dolphin.”
Unfortunately, his phone had no signal, and the sea was getting harsher. There was no possibility of contacting anyone. What should he do?
Wilcock, a fisherman who is well experienced with creatures from the sea, decided that he would do everything he could to make sure this baby would live!
He was still holding his camera, but he immediately knew he would need both hands for this operation. He attached the camera to his jacket and talked calmly to the baby dolphin, a marine mammal that he had never before seen stranded anywhere.
“Come on, buddy!” He gently pushed the creature into the deeper water, but the baby almost seemed already too weak.
Wilcock then grabbed the dolphin with both hands—its skin was smooth and slippery. He pushed it forward two steps but almost fell on the slippery rocks. Finally, the waves were covering the mammal, but it didn’t seem to be moving. Had Wilcock been too late?
“Come on, buddy!” he said again. Wilcock’s voice got more intense, and so did his pushes. Once, twice, three times he pushed, the salty spray getting into his eyes.
Suddenly, the little one’s tail started to move up and down, stronger and stronger. Rich was excited—the dolphin was swimming again!
But then a big wave rolled towards them and swept the baby back towards the rocks. Wilcock panicked now. “Come on! Come on, mate!” He almost yelled in anger. That baby was not going to die! Not on his watch!
He waded deeper into the sea, acting as a companion to that lost soul, sending him back to the deep. “That’s it, come on!” He felt that the dolphin was finally in deep-enough waters—the baby had made it!
Wilcock could spot the tiny fin once more, and he saw it descend into the rough, gray sea. He and Leia were alone again. “I combed the beach for a while afterwards and stayed for an hour or so to make sure he made it back out to sea,” he said.
Watch the video: