During an otherwise routine fishing trip a few weeks ago, James White felt an especially strong tug on the line.
He was on the shore of Bodega Bay in Northern California — which should be very familiar to fans of the Alfred Hitchcock classic, “The Birds,” (affiliate link) which was filmed there. Whatever he had caught was super strong. It took him about 10 minutes to reel it in.
Perhaps as scary as those fictional flocks of bloodthirsty birds was what was on the other end of White’s fishing line. It was a six-foot-long, 100-pound sevengill shark.
When he tried to remove the hook, the shark bit White’s ankle and wouldn’t let go. “Immediately there was blood everywhere. The first bite punctured an artery,” White told NBC Bay Area. “The pressure was intense.”
White yelled to some nearby fishermen for help. Before they could reach him, his year-old Pit Bull, Darby, sprang into action. White had left Darby in his car (which is almost always not a good idea) because the location was near traffic. Darby somehow managed to push open a door and ran to his dog dad.
After catching a 6ft-long, 100 lb sevengill shark in Bodega Bay, James White ended up being the one caught. The shark sank its teeth into White’s leg and wouldn’t let go. Until, that is, Darby came to the rescue. #bayareaproud #goodboy @nbcbayarea https://t.co/GgiCBHik8Y pic.twitter.com/JiD8faxSSh
— Garvin Thomas (@garvinthomas) August 16, 2019
When Darby bit the shark’s gill, it sunk its teeth even deeper into White’s ankle. So Darby grabbed the shark’s tail in his mouth. “He literally ran up the hill with it and pulled it off my leg,” White told NBC Bay Area.
If Darby hadn’t come to his rescue, White may have lost his foot, or worse.
“He’s been a part of the family from day one,” White told NBC Bay Area. “Just now a little more.”
Despite this amazing case, you really should never, ever leave your dog in your car, especially during the summer. The interior temperature can quickly rise to well over 100 degrees. Too many dogs have died because of this. Fortunately, Darby survived and was able to save his owner’s life as well.
And yes, I do hope the sevengill shark, who was just minding its own business when it was caught, wasn’t seriously injured. White released the shark back into the ocean, where hopefully it will enjoy the rest of its life unperturbed.