BASE-jumping is a dangerous sport to say the least. In 2013 alone, 24 people died attempting a leap and the fatality rates are only increasing.
Yet, for some, the thrill of jumping off trumps the fear and the fatal statistics surrounding it. And, why not? Everyone is entitled to decide what they are willing to do for an adrenaline rush.
However, when rock-climber, high-liner and BASE-jumper Dean Potter leapt off the Eiger Mountain in Switzerland with his dog Whisper, he wasn’t just deciding for himself.
Dogs are innocent creatures. They do not have the ability to communicate their free choice. What they do have, however, is the unflinching loyalty to their owner. It is our responsibility care from them, judge what’s best for them, and most importantly, not do anything reckless like putting their lives on the line.
While we do not deny that Potter may have immense affection for Whisper, he does not have the right to subject the poor creature to such an atrocity. If, for the sake of argument, we agree with what he did because it was his dog after all, the decision to make a film out of it in order to seemingly "inspire" people is unacceptable.
The release of the video sparked controversy online and when Potter faced severe criticism for taking Whisper along the ride, he retorted, “I want you all to know that I do not force Whisper to do anything she doesn’t want to do. When we wake up in the morning, if Whisper wants to stay at home or camp, she is free to do so. This has never happened though and she always nips and yips at our heels and prods us to hop to it and get going.”
Well sure Potter, but we have a question for you: Does this look to you like she’s having fun?