Wounded Veterans Play With Dolphins for a Day to Fight PTSD

Wounded military personnel got a chance to play with dolphins on Sunday in Florida.

Jennifer Mackinday, 46, of Bloomington, Ind., said the experience was a chance to enjoy leisure time with her brother, James Smith, 43, an E4 specialist in the U.S Army who suffered a traumatic brain injury during his 2004-’05 deployment to Mosul, Iraq. 

Mackinday, Smith and others swam with the dolphins at Marathon’s Dolphin Research Center, sharing dolphin kisses, flipper shakes, high fives and dorsal pulls as they learned behavioral techniques.

“The dolphins are really funny, and they’re a lot like people,” Smith said. “Just imitating what the dolphins do… so that was fun to see all the stuff that they’re trained to do.”

Studies have claimed that dolphins have therapeutic qualities.

The day was part of the Soldier Ride, an event in which participants pedal across segments of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, and ending in Key West for the weekend.


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