You've Gotta See Ouka, the Paragliding Samoyed Who Soars With His Human Companion
Meet Ouka. He's a 3-year old samoyed, living in France with his filmmaker human, Shams. He's a self-professed world traveler, so he and Ouka explore some truly idyllic backdrops, as documented on both their Instagram pages. In addition to hiking and camping together, Shams and Ouka engage in a genuinely rare bonding hobby: using a specially made harness, the pair jump off cliffs and paraglide gracefully through the air, floofy feet dangling over all the rest of dog- and mankind, fighting the very idea of Newtonian physics.
In a video interview with the BBC, Shams explained that the idea for paragliding with Ouka came gradually.
"The first thing I noticed is that Ouka is not afraid of heights," Shams said. "For example, when we go hiking, he was standing super on the edge of the cliff."
From there, Shams began working with his glider around the pupper, getting Ouka used to the idea of the big, fluttering canopy. Once Ouka was used to the glider, Shams had a specially designed harness constructed to support the doggo's weight in a safe and comfortable manner. In total, Shams says it took about a month and a half to fully train Ouka on how to fly. Since then, the pair has taken nearly a dozen flights together.
Not just a paragliding duo, Ouka and Shams are a family who found one another at just the right time.
"Before I got Ouka, I was not in the best period of my life," Shams told the BBC. "I was not working so much because of the [pandemic], I was [dealing with] some personal issues in my life. I was quite in a big, big depression actually."
Meanwhile, Ouka was going through his hardship. He'd been adopted and surrendered twice before Shams found him and, after the last surrender, Shams says Ouka's dirty, matted fur was covered in parasites and fleas. But now, the pair spends their days together, hiking, camping, and flying above the treetops, happy as can be.
"He pushes me to find motivation to wake up in the morning and do stuff," Shams said. "So I need to tell him a big thank you for that.