Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Story of Misty

In April 2002, Dolphin Cove received a call from some local fishermen claiming that a young Dolphin was beached off the coast of the Island.  Within minutes our marine animal rescue team was mobilized and heading to the scene to see if there was anything that could be done to assist the animal.  On arrival, the rescuers found a sad scene it was a young dolphin, possibly a year old, very thin and only 4 feet long beached on the shore.  Efforts were made to locate if the pod was nearby but there were no signs.  The team made several attempts to take the animal to deeper waters and release her in hope that maybe she was beached by accident, but it became apparent after the dolphin continued to beach herself that she was much too weak to be left behind.

The rescuers brought the young animal back to Dolphin Cove, placing her in a natural lagoon but isolated from the other Dolphins.  Our consultant marine veterinarians, tops of their field, were called and were quickly en route to Jamaica to assist in the rescue.  

Head Trainer performing basic husbandry procedures  
"April" after being transported to Dolphin Cove

After being examined by the veterinarian, the dolphin now dubbed “April” (because of the month that she was rescued in) was given only a 20% chance of survival.  Regardless of these odds the owners and operators of this family run park, Mr. and Mrs. Stafford and Marilyn Burrowes, insisted on doing everything in their power to give April, who had quickly captured their hearts and the hearts of their employees, the best chance of survival.

April was found to have ulcers in both her mouth and stomach and was unable to eat or digest her food properly; she was fed through a tube a liquid fish diet and given medication to help with her condition.  It was a long road to recovery but April was strong and under the vigilant 24 hour care of the vets and animal rescuers she was soon showing a vast sign of improvement.

Animal Rescuers and Dolphin Trainers ensure that "April" is released gently into Dolphin Cove's natural lagoon
April was soon jumping the fences of her isolation area to interact with the other dolphins, imitating their behaviors including trained behaviors such as dance, tail present and tail walk all on her own.   

She loved the sessions with the trainers and her time with the other dolphins and quickly integrated herself as a member of their pod, capturing the hearts of her pod as quickly as she had captured the hearts of her handlers. 

"April" playing with other Dolphins at Dolphin Cove
After much deliberation, the vets and animal specialists ruled that due to her need for ongoing medical treatment and her obvious attachment to her new pod, April would be unable to be returned to the wild and survive.  Dolphin Cove was granted the permit to keep April as part of their family.

Mr. and Mrs. Burrowes had four sons but had said that if they had ever had a daughter; Misty would have been her name.  So it seemed only fit that April be officially named Misty.

Mr. and Mrs. Stafford and Marilyn Burrowes and their precious Dolphins at Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Misty continues to bring joy and happiness to the hearts of all who meet her.  She is now a healthy 8.5 feet in length and 330 pounds. 
One of the greatest stories of Misty here at Dolphin Cove was when we were visited by a seven year old girl who was autistic, she had never spoken a word and during her kiss with Misty she spoke for the first time, two words: “Dolphin! Misty!”  Immediately invoking tears from all who were lucky enough to witness such a miracle including other guests, the child’s parents, teacher and the dolphin trainers. 
Misty is truly a unique and amazing animal, loved by all, and definitely a gift from heaven.

Misty "the heart" of Dolphin Cove

1 comment:

  1. This is such a lovely story!
    I know Dolphin Cove well, and can attest to the care and devotion with which the dolphins are handled.
    The Borrowes have done a woderful job of keeping the pristine environment of Dolphin Cove preserved for the enjoyment of visitors from near and far.