Swimming with dolphins is about as graceful as I look in this picture.What’s going on here?  Oh, nothing scary.  Really.  This dolphin was very slowly and calmly coming over to me for rubs.  But I got caught in a current and got blown around at the very moment she came over.  She had no problem navigating through it (she’s a dolphin, d’uh), but it was another reminder to me at what god-awful swimmers humans are in comparison.
We think about what it’s like to Swim With Dolphins, and I think we all have the wrong idea until we actually see what these animals are capable of.  Today’s Middle Flipper takes a humorous look at what it’s REALLY like."Swimming" with dolphins: A Middle Flipper Perspective

Swimming with dolphins is about as graceful as I look in this picture.

What’s going on here?  Oh, nothing scary.  Really.  This dolphin was very slowly and calmly coming over to me for rubs.  But I got caught in a current and got blown around at the very moment she came over.  She had no problem navigating through it (she’s a dolphin, d’uh), but it was another reminder to me at what god-awful swimmers humans are in comparison.

We think about what it’s like to Swim With Dolphins, and I think we all have the wrong idea until we actually see what these animals are capable of.  Today’s Middle Flipper takes a humorous look at what it’s REALLY like.

"Swimming" with dolphins: A Middle Flipper Perspective


When we think of “The Wild”, what do we believe that means?Depending on your perspective, especially in light of the anti/pro-zoo debate, you may think that The Wild is the perfect place where all animals are free and happy.  Or, you may think that The Wild is a place where untimely death and human harassment occurs. But the truth is, The Wild isn’t either of those descriptions.  But yet again, we tend to stake our claim in one camp of thought.  We label ourselves as “anti” or “pro”, serving only to attract people with the same exact mindset and not try to reach out and positively and constructively join forces with “the other side” to accomplish a common goal: Conserving and preserving the animals we love so much, and the environment they live in.So let’s stop with the propaganda on each side, and take a look at what The Wild really is.The Wild: Mother Nature or Cold-Hearted Meaniepants?

When we think of “The Wild”, what do we believe that means?

Depending on your perspective, especially in light of the anti/pro-zoo debate, you may think that The Wild is the perfect place where all animals are free and happy.  Or, you may think that The Wild is a place where untimely death and human harassment occurs. 

But the truth is, The Wild isn’t either of those descriptions.  But yet again, we tend to stake our claim in one camp of thought.  We label ourselves as “anti” or “pro”, serving only to attract people with the same exact mindset and not try to reach out and positively and constructively join forces with “the other side” to accomplish a common goal: Conserving and preserving the animals we love so much, and the environment they live in.

So let’s stop with the propaganda on each side, and take a look at what The Wild really is.

The Wild: Mother Nature or Cold-Hearted Meaniepants?


There are two elements of animal names that totally confuse animal care professionals.The first?  Those ridiculous public naming contests, where the only name that makes NO SENSE winds up being the most popular.And the second: Animals who have the same names as your very own coworkers.  I’ve found that my overactive imagination and my blondness combine forces for the Good of Hilarity when either of these two scenarios emerge, which is of course the theme of this week’s Middle Flipper.  Enjoy!The Middle Flipper: Names That Confuse Me

There are two elements of animal names that totally confuse animal care professionals.

The first?  Those ridiculous public naming contests, where the only name that makes NO SENSE winds up being the most popular.

And the second: Animals who have the same names as your very own coworkers.  

I’ve found that my overactive imagination and my blondness combine forces for the Good of Hilarity when either of these two scenarios emerge, which is of course the theme of this week’s Middle Flipper.  Enjoy!

The Middle Flipper: Names That Confuse Me


Meet Patty, a 32 year old California sea lion.  Rescued as a stranded pup, Patty became Queen of the Universe (at least, in our perspective) and got what she want, when she wanted it.  This included which humans she graciously allowed to be near her regal-ness.
Today’s Middle Flipper is dedicated to Patty, who arguably had the worst case of trainer pickiness ever ever ever.  Hilarious, intelligent, and sassy, you won’t want to miss this week’s story!The Middle Flipper Is…. (Part 11)

Meet Patty, a 32 year old California sea lion.  Rescued as a stranded pup, Patty became Queen of the Universe (at least, in our perspective) and got what she want, when she wanted it.  This included which humans she graciously allowed to be near her regal-ness.

Today’s Middle Flipper is dedicated to Patty, who arguably had the worst case of trainer pickiness ever ever ever.  Hilarious, intelligent, and sassy, you won’t want to miss this week’s story!

The Middle Flipper Is…. (Part 11)


When animal trainers say that relationship is paramount to animal care, they aren’t kidding.  There is little room for debate on this topic.  But where the dissention lies is what the actual nature of this relationship is, and how we cultivate it. Is it okay to say you love your animal companions and friends?  Of course it is. Today’s Middle Flipper takes a good hard look at what makes up a great relationship between a human and a non-human animal.  The Middle Flipper: The Relationships We Cultivate

When animal trainers say that relationship is paramount to animal care, they aren’t kidding.  There is little room for debate on this topic.  But where the dissention lies is what the actual nature of this relationship is, and how we cultivate it. Is it okay to say you love your animal companions and friends?  Of course it is. Today’s Middle Flipper takes a good hard look at what makes up a great relationship between a human and a non-human animal. 

The Middle Flipper: The Relationships We Cultivate


Hi!

Are you going to this year’s IMATA/AZA conference? Even if you’re not, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. 

On top of that, I’ve recently gotten a few questions/comments about the conference from both aspiring and veteran trainers alike, and figured it was time to compile my answers in today’s Middle Flipper. Follow the link below and enjoy!

http://themiddleflipper.blogspot.com/2014/09/whats-so-special-about-imata-and-aza.html?m=1
Hi! Are you going to this year’s IMATA/AZA conference? Even if you’re not, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. On top of that, I’ve recently gotten a few questions/comments about the conference from both aspiring and veteran trainers alike, and figured it was time to compile my answers in today’s Middle Flipper. Follow the link below and enjoy!

http://themiddleflipper.blogspot.com/2014/09/whats-so-special-about-imata-and-aza.html?m=1


Can dolphins hear human voices?Somewhere along the way, facts are twisted into non-facts.  It happens with a lot of things: science, politics, what I said to my best friend last night, etc.  I guess it’s equivalent to a game of telephone: one piece of information transforms into another until it’s well, untrue.  There are a few of these myth-like “facts” that I discovered and would like to set straight.  This week’s Middle Flipper debunks the idea that dolphins cannot hear our voices clearly.Animal Myths I Believed:  Marine Mammal Hearing Range Edition

Can dolphins hear human voices?

Somewhere along the way, facts are twisted into non-facts.  It happens with a lot of things: science, politics, what I said to my best friend last night, etc.  I guess it’s equivalent to a game of telephone: one piece of information transforms into another until it’s well, untrue.  

There are a few of these myth-like “facts” that I discovered and would like to set straight.  This week’s Middle Flipper debunks the idea that dolphins cannot hear our voices clearly.

Animal Myths I Believed:  Marine Mammal Hearing Range Edition


Who doesn’t love animals?

There’s something weird that happens when all of us surround ourselves with people who have a similar view on this topic: we forget that there are people out there who are apathetic or even DISLIKE animals.  Yes, really.

Now I’m usually one to be open-minded and accept different points of view (without necessarily changing my own opinion), but I think people who don’t like animals are nuts and out of touch.  

But one thing we can all agree on, no matter if you have a companion animal, work with animals in a vet/rehab/wild research/keeper/trainer setting, are an activist, or just a wildlife appreciator, it’s WEIRD and sad when you run into someone who thinks animals are stupid or just here for “our” use.  Today’s Middle Flipper is all about this topic, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

When Two Worlds Collide: Animal Lovers Versus the Rest of the Planet


Q
It was really awesome to read your last blog. This summer/season I have been slowly applying to jobs. I have failed 1/2 swim tests, have had 3 rejections from interviews, and two black hole applications. It's been a discouraging summer but I've been keeping my head up and putting my focus towards finishing school. Thank you for all the help and advice you give to us aspiring trainers! It's hard to imagine supervisors were once in my position. But thank you for keeping it real and encouraging! (:
A

I felt the same way when I was an aspiring and then a new trainer about how hard it was to imagine people who’d been in the field a while having a tough time.

Just keep your chin up, keep adapting without losing yourself, and keep applying!


Opinion post! Put on your thinking cap, ‘cause we’re gonna play a game.

veganprimatologist:

I’ve been seeing a lot of “animal rights” activists passing around photos of zoo animals and taking them completely out of context in order to support their propaganda that all zoo animals are abused by their keepers. 

We’re going to play a little thinking game.

Read More

Exaaaactly.

This topic is not something that has to further delineate the “pro” or “anti” zoo (pointless) debate. It’s the fact that by photo bias, we are distracting our attention away from the issues animals actually face. If we spend time and effort trying to shame a zoo because a very out-of-context photo goes viral, we take away that time from an animal in a place who is truly suffering.

I really dislike this bipartisan tendency we have to claim a “side”. The only side can be “for the animals”….with the methodology being the only point of debate.