In December 2005, a Floridian fisherman, noticed something pulling on a crab trap line. He stopped his boat to look more closely and discovered a dolphin trapped in the line. He freed the dolphin, and she was taken to Clearwater Marine Aquarium where she acquired the name Winter. Vets, dolphin trainers, and volunteers worked to save this young dolphin who was exhausted and badly injured. They were able to nurse her back to health, but the trap line had cut off the circulation to her tail and she eventually lost her tail.
She adapted to her situation and learned to swim by moving her tail stump side to side like a shark rather than up and down like a dolphin should. She was gaining strength and growing but the veterinarians and trainers worried she’d damage her spine by swimming side to side.
Prostheses developer, Kevin Carroll, worked with the staff of the aquarium and marine mammal specialists from around the country to create a prosthetic tail for Winter. She has learned to swim with her new tail and is now an inspiration to children and adults who wear prostheses. And the research that went into creating her new tail is being used in the development of new prosthetic technology for humans.
I read a review of Winter’s Tail by Juliana, Isabella, and Craig Hatkoff several months ago, before it was released. Sadly, I can’t remember where I read it, but I knew immediately that I needed to get it for dolphin-obsessed M. I gave her a copy for Christmas and we’ve read the story many times. She even brought it with her when we went to her grandparents house so she could share with them and her aunt and uncle who live near Winter’s aquarium home. She’s shared the story with several friends and we’ve gone online to learn more about Winter. M is now determined to go see Winter as soon as possible. We’re hoping to make a trip to Florida next fall. You can learn more about Winter here.
This week’s Non-Fiction Monday Round-Up is at Sally Apokedek’s blog.