By Joseph McFarlane and Jasmine Kazlauskas
An adventurous PARAGLIDING POOCH has won hearts across the world after he was spotted fearlessly sailing the skies with his owner.
After watching his adventure-loving human dad Justin Elliott go paragliding every weekend around Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, one-year-old groodle Snickers seemed desperate to join in on the fun.
Hardly satisfied with sitting on the sidelines, the golden-retriever-poodle-mix never took his eyes off Justin when he was up in the air and would jealously bark until he landed.
So when the 44-year-old IT consultant decided to bring Snickers along for a ride last Sunday [12 OCT], the adorable pup finally got to experience the fun for himself and see the world from above.
Justin, who is originally from Monroe City, Missouri, USA, but moved to Sydney nine years ago, took Snickers paragliding twice that day and plans to let him join more often in the future.
He said: “I’ve been into paragliding for over 20 years. I was first addicted to skydiving for the US Army 82nd Airborne, and the passion just stemmed from there.
“My wife and I adopted Siberian cats before Snickers, and we would take them sailing, camping and hiking. Siberians are an amazing breed, but it’s a bit easier with a dog.
“I love sharing the experience with others, just about all my human family have been paragliding with me, so it was bound to happen.
“It took a lot of prep and training to get him ready and to make sure it was safe for Snickers, from top to bottom.
“It was a great experience for both of us. He really enjoyed it and I’d definitely take him with me in the future.
“Snickers is a total natural at the sport and really loves the attention.
“He is part of the family and we hate leaving him behind. I also think he has a bit of FOMO [Fear of Missing Out] when I’m flying, so now he can take part in the fun.
“He comes with us to the beach, to the snow, when we go camping, and now paragliding. As long as he is comfortable, he will join us.
“He trusts us and is happy when we are there. It’s obvious when he’s really scared – just try to get him on an escalator!”
Before taking off for the first time, Justin said he consulted with his friend Roger Stanford who owns ‘SkyOut Paragliding’ in Sydney, who helped with getting the duo off the ground safely.
Roger helped get Snickers his very own custom-made harness that was fit specifically for his height and weight – with his legs fitting through four holes, which keeps him safely secured in place.
The harness then attaches to the paraglider itself, which Justin said is how he also paraglides with humans.
Justin’s wife Aurelie, 44, said: “Justin always has these crazy ideas, he can never sit still so I knew something like this was going to happen.
“I was a bit nervous. I never thought that Justin would have an accident or anything, because he is very good and well trained.
“But I wasn’t sure if Snickers would actually enjoy it. But on their first flight, I was standing on the beach and I saw them coming towards me to land.
“He was so relaxed and chilled, like it was just where he wanted to be with his Dad.
“Once he landed, he was happy and acted like everything was normal. He is an awesome dog.”