Friendship knows no species!

By Chad Taylor
April 28, 2021
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Do you need your heart warmed? Because, Baby, I'm here and ready to help.

Gunner is a golden retriever and a Very Good Boy. Delta is a bottlenose dolphin and also, presumably, very good. Back in June, Twitter user @_woollyback posted a tweet that read "sorry to interrupt, important news." The important news? A photo of Gunner leaning over the water to give Delta a big lick to the side of his snout. As one might expect from the power of Dog + Dolphin Friends, the photo was an instant success, with 1.2 million likes and over 228,000 retweets so far.

Another Twitter account shared the photo again this week with the same caption, according to Newsweek. And the new attention has given all of us a fresh chance to appreciate the pure joy of animals being friends with one another. But now, as Paul Harvey used to say, it's time for the rest of the story. Because it turns out that this photo wasn't just a one-off meeting: Gunner and Delta have been friends for years!

Gunner's human companion, Marie Blanton, works at the Dolphin Research Center in Miami, where Delta lives.

"I've been a trainer at DRC for almost 10 years so I would bring him with me to work when he was really little," Blanton told the Evening Standard in 2020. "I wanted to expose him to all types of people and other animals. From the very first moment he met the dolphins, he was calm around them and very curious."

Even though she brings Gunner in less often now that he's older and bigger, the pair have remained fast friends, with Gunnar running to Delta's enclosure as soon as he's on site. Then they share some quality time together.

In response to the photo's first round of viral fame, the Dolphin Research Center posted photos of Gunner and Delta meeting as an 8-week-old pup and a 4-year-old, well, dolphin, along with an updated photo of them together in 2020. Everything about this story is absolutely delightful and if the world could give us 300 more days of exactly this, 2021 might turn out to be OK after all.