Dolphins Reading
By Norah Eldredge (05/18/10 09:54:50)
Related animal: Dolphin

This reading was very interesting to me. Usually, when people talk about dolphins, there is a kitch-y anthropomorphized cuteness toward them that deters me from taking them seriously.

I feel like the perspective in this article is much different. There is an understanding and respect for the animals that is on one hand scientific, and on the other an understanding from one animal species to another.

What interested me the most was the discussion on what role dolphins play in our economy, both domestically and globally, and how the 'need' for dolphins is somewhat skewed by the monetary gain accessible through using a dolphin as the animal in question as opposed to something like a dog or horse.

We also discussed this in class, ie if dolphin therapy is really as effective as it is claimed to be, and whether or not it is worth capturing the animals in order to force human/dolphin interaction. Some aspects of this I believe are good- exposing people to nature in any way possible etc. However, more often then not, the dolphins are really not taken into consideration and are simply a commodity, nothing more. Their energy and souls are not truly engaged and not only does this affect the mental and physical well-being of the dolphin personally, but also can translate into tactile sadness, depression and even violence.

While talking about this in class I remembered an instance in my life where I had a strange interaction with dolphins. My family was in Hawaii when I was around 7 years old. My younger sister and I were dying to 'swim with the dolphins' as we had seen in movies etc, and begged our parents to let us do it. I remember this being a big discussion- my parents thought it was weird and expensive, but somehow Suzanne and I managed to convince them.

We went to the FourSeasons, or some such resort where you can swim with dolphins, and got in the water. I remember the experience being slightly scary and overwhelming. The texture of the dolphin's skin was what I remembered most, as well as how little the animal moved around the pen. What I remember most of all, though, was getting out of the water and crying. I couldn't stop crying. My parents were livid- tacking it up to cranky hungry kids and leaving it at that. It is now a legendary family story- the girls got their way, mom and dad paid for an expensive and weird activity, and then the kids melted down and hated it.

Now that I reflect back on this event, I must have picked up on the negative and sad feelings of the dolphin I interacted with! I had no idea why I was crying either, I just remember being totally overwhelmed and depressed in a way, now that I think about it, a seven year old should never be. These creatures are truly powerful and emotional creatures and need to be understood and respected in that way.

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