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Behind the Dolphin Smile: A True Story That Will Touch the Hearts of Animal Lovers Everywhere

Overview

People who have faced death often speak of their lives flashing before their lives. Something much different happened to dolphin trainer Richard O'Barry when one of the dolphins that played Flipper on television died of stress in his arms. He realized that most of his career as an animal trainer had been a mistake and that dolphins have as much right to freedom as humans. He vowed not to rest until he freed every last dolphin that could be returned to the wild successfully.

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Overview

People who have faced death often speak of their lives flashing before their lives. Something much different happened to dolphin trainer Richard O'Barry when one of the dolphins that played Flipper on television died of stress in his arms. He realized that most of his career as an animal trainer had been a mistake and that dolphins have as much right to freedom as humans. He vowed not to rest until he freed every last dolphin that could be returned to the wild successfully.

This is a true story that will move not only animal lovers but everyone who loves a well-told tale. Ric O'Barry had everything-money, flashy cars, pretty women-but it wasn't enough to keep his conscience at bay. He began to understand that dolphins were easy to train because of their great intelligence, not his great talent, and keeping them in captivity was cruel and morally wrong. While research and entertainment are important to human life, they are not worth the cost to these beautiful and gentle animals.

O'Barry was arrested trying to free a dolphin, but that didn't stop him, and he now devotes his life to untraining dolphins and returning them to their natural habitats. Once the pride of the billion-dollar dolphin captivity industry, he has since become its nemesis.

A dramatic case for keeping dolphins in their natural environment by the man who trained Flipper.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
He attracted worldwide attention in 1970 when he was arrested in Bimini, the Bahamas, for cutting the wires of a dolphin's pen. That act was a remarkable turnabout for O'Barry, who had collected, trained and exhibited dolphins for the Miami Seaquarium. He trained all five ``Flippers'' for the successful television series; the death of his favorite, Kathy, convinced him that commercial exploitation of these intelligent, sensitive creatures must end. O'Barry recounts his adventures with dolphins, sea lions, sharks and other sea mammals in making films for television. After several attempts at organizing a group to protect dolphins, he now works with the Oceanic Research and Communication Alliance (ORCA). On a marshy island off the coast of Georgia, O'Barry is retraining dolphins to live in their natural environment. His story will have wide appeal. Photos. (April)
KLIATT
No one is more familiar with dolphins than ex-trainer Richard O'Barry. That he is an ex-trainer is the crux of Behind the Dolphin Smile, as the man who trained the dolphins who played Flipper on the television series has since become a most ardent advocate for the rights of dolphins to be free. O'Barry's epiphany came when one of the dolphins died of stress, in his arms, and left him changed forever. "If dolphins made contact with alien beings who made the right kind of sounds and if dolphins were enlightened enough to understand what was going on, they might very well treat the aliens the way they, the dolphins, would like to be treated themselves: with respect, kindness, patience and love. Indeed, they would treat the alien beings just as they have treated us." O'Barry has been arrested for trying to free a dolphin but has also been awarded the United Nations Environmental Achievement Award for his work in dolphin re-adaptation. This book is his story of how he reached this point in his life. It is not a great memoir, but it is a good story and an interesting one. It is also bound to add to the discussion about what is just and right for lives other than human ones. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1988, Renaissance, 299p, 23cm, 00-103894, $15.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Katherine E. Gillen; Libn., Luke AFB Lib., AZ, November 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 6)
Library Journal
This autobiographical account of the author's work with dolphins includes his unique experiences capturing and training them at Miami's Seaquarium for filming in the Flipper television series. It also reveals his deep respect for the dolphin's natural dignity; O'Barry describes his involvement in research projects in which the mammals were studied in captivity and then returned to the wild. His Flipper tales are interesting, but for the most part his storytelling is too self-centered; he spends more effort examining his own personality than that of the dolphin. Samuel Ridgway's The Dolphin Doctor ( LJ 9/1/87) or Don Reed's Notes from an Underwater Zoo ( LJ 6/1/81) more vividly capture the excitement of working with these fascinating sea creatures. Susan Klimley, Columbia U. Libs.
School Library Journal
YA O'Barry's lifetime involvement with dolphins is the subject of this engaging autobiography. As trainer of the television star, Flipper who was really five different female dolphins, his skills were crucial to the series' success. In 1970, O'Barry became aware of how his work had often exploited the friendly sea mammals and founded Dolphin Project, Inc., which is dedicated to the rights of dolphins to swim freely, except for purposes of legitimate scientific research. His work in returning dolphins to the wild was recently featured in a National Geographic television special, Back to the Sea. Although the time frame, littered with flashbacks, is sometimes confusing, this book succeeds in expressing O'Barry's deep bond with dolphins and his commitment to their rights. His worldwide adventures should appeal to many readers. Keddy Outlaw, Harris County Public Library, Houston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580631013
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard O'Barry, founder and executive director of Dolphin Project, Inc., is a world-renowned advocate for dolphin freedom. He received the 1991 United Nations Environmental Achievement Award for his accomplishments in dolphin re-adaptation. He lives in Coconut Grove, Florida.

Keith Coulbourn is a mystery writer and former newspaper journalist. He lives in Miami, Florida.

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Table of Contents

Preface    xi
Mission to Bimini   13
The Bimini Jail   28
Summer, 1944   42
Treasure Diving   55
The Hunt   78
Glory Days   92
Seaquarium Show Biz 103
The Lilly Factor 111
Going Hollywood 124
Thirteen Weeks a Year 134
Alone 151
The Bamboo Trick 160
Of Oyster Stew and Interspecies Communication                          185
Shooting in the Bahamas 201
Fun and Games 217
The Trouble with Susie 231
When the Wheels Fall Off 241
Working Without a Net 251
25.05° North, 76.40° West 266
Epilogue: The Journey Home 280
Afterword: The Dolphins of War 292
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2002

    The Best Book Ever

    I thought this was truley the best book ever. I would recomend it to anyone. It is a book that once you pick it up you never wanna put it down

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