The internet usually (but particularly now) can be filled with a lot of shitty stuff. But you know what you can also find in its labyrinth? Dog photos! And what’s better than dog photos? A photo of a dog and a dolphin! Hanging out. Smooching. Just having fun - pandemic be damned.
Since 2021 feels a hell lot like 2020 anyway, a viral photo of a golden retriever leaning over to lick a dolphin’s nose from last year is doing the rounds once again. And because it’s the only good part of my week, I felt the need to share it with you.
While this viral moment first garnered more than a million likes last June, Twitter user @Avayonce re-shared it this week because honestly, the world is a bleak place and it needs more cute animal content. That’s also probably why the photo went viral, gaining over 1.3 million likes on Twitter at the time of writing this.
The virality seems like a testament to the fact that we could all probably use this big boop energy in our lives. But what makes this paw-dorable moment even more heartwarming is that this playful golden retriever and dolphin have been best friends for years.
Gunner, the seven-year-old golden retriever in the photo, and Delta, the ten-year-old dolphin have been inseparable ever since the former floof was about eight weeks old.
Dogs are known to be extremely friendly creatures who will vibe with almost any animal, from ducks to pigs to even tigers. But Gunner struck a special friendship with Delta, a dolphin at Florida’s Dolphin Research Center, where Marie Blanton, Gunner’s human and other best friend worked for about a decade. “From the very first moment he met the dolphins, he was calm around them and very curious,” Blanton told Evening Standard. “Delta, who was a playful four-year-old at the time was especially interested in him as well. Now that he is a little older, I tend to bring him in less, but still once every few months.”
Like most of us braving this seemingly endless self-isolation would understand, you don’t have to meet your friends often to forge an inseparable bond. And like most of us would when meeting our friends after lockdown, Gunner evidently makes sure he slathers Delta with all his slobbery love. I think this is my cue to finally get a dog.
If you can’t get enough of Gunner and Delta too, they aren’t the only dog-dolphin pair killing it on the internet. You can also spend some minutes checking out Kevin, another golden retriever from Florida, and Winter, an adorable dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. They met over FaceTime last year. How modern.
It’s been a bad year and a worse week as COVID-19 continues to rage its hellfire in many parts of the world. And amid this extreme state of hopelessness and helplessness, for people like me who love playing with dogs but don’t love living with chewed-up shoes and fur-filled couches, binge-watching dog videos is a much-needed respite.
In fact, science says that watching cute animal videos induces the same chemical response in your brain as cocaine. According to experts, staring at cute things, like a dog gently nuzzling a dolphin, activates the amygdala, an area of the brain that experiences emotions and in turn enhances other cognitive systems. That means just looking at a dog getting a haircut or tumbling down a slide can give you your daily dopamine rush. The best thing is that this is not just a fleeting moment of joy - it may even do a little brain healing.
So yes, when everything is overwhelming like it is right now for many of us, please take a moment to watch the following videos. Click away. Give your brain a hug.