Saturday, January 22, 2011

Winter, the Dolphin's, Heroic Story

My husband and I are spending a week in Clearwater Beach, Florida.  Pelicans soar just outside our window, and on many days, dolphins swim literally under the balcony. 

At the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, lives an inspirational young Atlantic bottlenose dolphin named Winter. Nearly five years ago, on a wintry day, a three month old dolphin became entangled in a crab trap line, and she was drowning.  A fisherman, Jim Savage, came to her rescue, cut her free and, with the help of several other people, managed to steer her to shallow water where they rescued her.  The bottom of her tail had been severely damaged.  None of her rescuers on that desperate day could begin to imagine the impact this tiny orphan would have on so many people the world over.

Winter was immediately taken to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which is an animal rescue and rehab center.  There she underwent a many hour surgery on her tail after the bottom actually fell off. 

Although the team of surgeons saved her life, Winter was now an almost tailless dolphin.  What to do?  She could swim awkwardly, but the veterinarians knew she would have spine issues if she could not swim properly.

A company of expert prosthesis makers offered to assist Winter, and a prosthetic tail was devised--all free of charge. The little dolphin adjusted to it quickly.  She could swim normally while wearing it, and she actually began to jump out of the water as dolphins do!  As she grew, new tails were fashioned to accommodate her size.  Although she does not wear the tail all the time, she exercises with it, and normalcy is hers, if only for a time.

Winter has become an inspiration for people worldwide.  Along with other visitors, children and adults with prosthetic limbs visit the aquarium to see the brave little dolphin who greets as many as she can with a wet dolphin kiss!

This was such an amazing and heroic event that a Hollywood film about Winter's life has just been completed.  It is called A Dolphin's Tale and is set for release by Warner Brothers on September 23, 2011.

Every time I see a dolphin swimming freely around the docks, I think of Winter.  Her new normal is not freedom but hope.  She does so much for humanity every day.  I can't help but believe she has a life that is well lived and is content in that knowledge.

Take a look at Winter, her rehabilitation and her heroic life below:

Photo of Winter taken by Nancy Stewart
Sunday, January 23, 2011

And for more information, visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's web site at:


  1. Nancy,
    Thanks for the lovely post and for sharing this touching video. I got a lump in my throat watching it.

  2. I forgot to say: I'm your new follower. I hope you'll follow back! :-)

  3. What an inspiring post. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Enjoy Clearwater. I'm jealous.
    J. Aday Kennedy
    The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
    Children's Author of Klutzy Kantor & Marta's Gargantuan Wings

  5. Thanks for sharing the touching story, Nancy! We were in that area earlier this month but didn't get to that aquarium.

  6. Wish I lived close enough to visit her. She truly is inspiring.

  7. Thanks for sharing her story. I love these kinds of "tales." :)


  8. Great video, I worked with Winter as her vet tech during her initial rehabilitation. How i miss my little girl!