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A special bond with a special dolphin

By Times Staff Writer
Published October 27, 2007


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CLEARWATER   

Since being rescued from a crab trap's rope and fitted with a prosthetic tail, Winter the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin has become quite the media darling.

Attendance is up at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where Winter has lived for two years.

But there has been an unexpected development.

"We were very pleasantly surprised at the interest and the depth of connection felt by the amputee community," aquarium chief executive officer David Yates said. "We heard back from a lot of amputees saying they felt a special bond with Winter."

So on Friday, Yates announced the aquarium will provide complimentary visits to meet the dolphin to amputees who call and schedule appointments. Katrina Simpkins, 8, of Indiana, who has a prosthetic leg, first met Winter in July while on vacation.

It was a life-changing event, said her mother, Maria Simpkins.

"She's happier," Simpkins said. "She knows she is rare and so is the dolphin."

[Last modified October 26, 2007, 23:49:23]


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