The True Story of Winter the Dolphin in Dolphin Tales the Movie
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The True Story of Winter the Dolphin in Dolphin Tales the Movie

Winter the dolphin is the first to ever receive a prosthetic tale after facing an accident at the hands of deep sea fishermen. The movie Dolphin Tales depicts her story in a real heart warming saga . . .

If you are anything like me, you are absolutely in awe with the beautiful, graceful dolphin. This mammal of the deep is very intelligent and charismatic with what appears to be a permanent smile on their faces. Dolphins have stolen the hearts of people everywhere through the media, aquarium shows and interactions (such as touching, swimming with and feeding them.) These beautiful creatures can live up to 50 years in captivity, grow 10 to 14 ft. in length, 1,100 pounds and live in pods in the oceans. They can lap out of the water up to about 16 feet, landing in a huge splash on their backs or sides. If you have ever been to one of their shows, you may have felt the splash results while sitting in the stands.

Learn the true story of Winter the dolphin in the movie, "Dolphin Tale." Winter is a famous dolphin that was in the wrong place at the wrong time back in 2006. Fishermen were tossing traps into the water for crabs and other sea-life. Somehow one of those traps, ropes and all, curled completely around Winter’s tail area, cutting off all circulation. It may be that, once the ropes got around her tail, Winter panicked trying to get it off, causing further damage. Winter subsequently washed up onto the shore several feet away from a gentleman fishing. This man turned out to be Winter’s “angel” who went to check on her and called for help. Winter also made a special friend with a young boy who sat beside her, stroking her, cutting off some of the rope that got caught around her face and removing the crab trap itself. She was only about two months old. People may not give animals enough credit but this mammal recognized the genuine feelings of this little boy who was trying to help her.

Because of the extent of her injuries, Winter eventually lost her tail through amputation. Staff at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Hospital rehabilitated Winter 24 hours a day. The little boy came often to visit and Winter responded to his presence immediately. In fact, he was able to get her to eat when no one else could. Eventually Winter got stronger and learned to swim with the stub of a tail that she was left with. Unfortunately, instead of propelling the tail up and down as the dolphin is made to do, she would sway it back and forth, causing damage to her spine. No one knew what they could. It was impossible for her to propel up and down without a full tail. However, swimming the way that she is able to at this point is a life threatening situation.

When the Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc. heard about Winter’s situation and her will to live, they collaborated with her doctor, Dr. Walsh to create the very first prosthetic tail. They had to begin with training her to allow them to fit her for a tail. Remember, Winter is a very young and inexperienced dolphin and much of the process freaked her out.

The tail fluke of the dolphin is their powerhouse necessary for swimming, jumping and just being themselves. This is the part of the tail that Winter had amputated. The part of the body above the tail is called the peduncle. Prior to placing a prosthetic on Winter, she needed to be fitted with a stretchy sleeve, fitted over her peduncle. This sleeve and the prosthetic had to fit comfortably, with Winter’s approval. After several attempts, the efforts of the trainers, the doctor and the Hanger Prosthetics succeeded in finding what was best for her.

Dolphin Tale is a new movie that is based on the story of Winter, her tragedy and recovery. Many creatures of the deep fall victim to accidents such as what she went through and left to die. They get caught in traps meant for crustacean and fish, get hit by boats and motors as well as illegal poachers. Most of them are not as fortunate as Winter to have another shot at life, thanks to the humans who found her, rehabilitated her and loved her. Dolphin Tale brings forth her story of survival and how an animal can have an effect on humans around her, humans who themselves are faced with handicaps. Yet many of us feel pity and self-sorrow. The movie will leave you with a warm feeling. Most of you will want to take a trip to visit the real Winter, as this is an absolute true story of a brave and beautiful dolphin with a real zest for life. Again, animals have a way of teaching humans the real meaning of life and survival and love.


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Comments (2)

I had never heard of this movie, but now I have got to see it. I don't recall reading anything about the actual event either. I can't honestly say that dolphins have a place in my heart the way vats, dogs, and horses do, but this does sound like a moving story if nothing else.

My wife and I saw the movie last night and really enjoyed it. The premise of the movie is that being disabled isn't the end of the world although it may seem so, and the story of Winter the dolphin is a testament to the fact. As Morgan Freeman's character points out to Sawyers disabled cousin "you may have lost your dreams, but lucky for you there are about a millions other dreams"