|Molly, Calusa, Pandora, and Aleta love attention.|
A question staff is asked a lot is, “Do you think the dolphins enjoy being here?” We may be biased, but we believe they do. The dolphins, and the rest of the animals at Dolphin Research Center, don’t have to do anything they don’t want to. They run the facility. Everything is on dolphin time. If the dolphins decide they’re not in the mood to do a session with their trainer or the public, they don’t have to. We realize that the dolphins are much like us. Even though many of us feel we have the greatest jobs in the world, sometimes there are days where we’d rather stay in bed than go to work. It’s a natural part of life. How can we tell that the dolphins truly enjoy the attention they receive? We see it in a variety of ways.
Every morning, staff goes out to the lagoons, to say hello to our dolphin family. The pod screams, squeals, cheers, makes funny noises, and does so much more to get our attention. We blow kisses to them and they blow them back. We sit on the dock, without a bucket of fish, and they offer backrubs, toys, and gifts. We’re as much a part of their family as they are ours.
Then there’s the unique qualities that each of the dolphins have to get more attention. The most recognizable is Tursi’s scream. No one taught her to scream at the height of her behaviors, but she knows it gets attention so she does it. Staff members can be sitting on the other side of the facility, having a meeting, hear her famous scream, and know it’s Tursi.
We can also see and hear their excitement. Often times during narrations with trainers on the dock, you can barely even hear what’s being said because the dolphins are screaming so loud. They aren’t there to put on a show; they’re there to play with their human friends. The dolphins feed off of our own excitement. The louder and more colorful you are, the more they’re going to give you in a session. It’s an amazing dynamic to witness.
Many guests see it when they walk into the facility. We have outstanding reviews about DRC and how clear it is that we truly love, respect, and give the best care to the animals that call it home. There are lots of ways to see that the love for the time spent with the dolphins is reciprocated. They have a fabulous life and are loved beyond measure.