the water is my sky.

I can't fly but swimming is the next best thing. It's harmony & peace...

  • 20th April
    2014
  • 20

"That if my speech tonight doesn’t work it doesn’t mean that I’m a bad speaker. It means that what I did didn’t work tonight. And I’ve got to separate what I do from who I am, and I’ve got another shot.

See the last chapter to your life has not been written yet and it doesn’t matter about what happened yesterday. It doesn’t matter about the things that you’ve done that you feel guilty about.

If you wouldn’t do it today you are convicting an innocent person.”

- Les Brown ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNLk9WjFIyA 31:52 - 32:23)

  • 20th April
    2014
  • 20
  • 18th April
    2014
  • 18
  • 18th April
    2014
  • 18
the-life-im-meant-to-live:

skinnysexysmile:

Thought you guys might find this interesting as well, here is Cosmo’s plus size model, Robyn Lawley. You can find the photo here, and see how enraged everyone else is at the idea of “plus size”

My favourite comment was: "Dear Cosmo, Kindly take your ideas of “plus size” and shove them up your ass sideways. Sincerely, Every man on the planet who has had to reassure his perfectly healthy and proportioned woman she’s not fat because assholes like you perpetuate this idea in her head that she’s “plus size”

the-life-im-meant-to-live:

skinnysexysmile:

Thought you guys might find this interesting as well, here is Cosmo’s plus size model, Robyn Lawley. You can find the photo here, and see how enraged everyone else is at the idea of “plus size”

My favourite comment was:
"Dear Cosmo,
Kindly take your ideas of “plus size” and shove them up your ass sideways.

Sincerely,
Every man on the planet who has had to reassure his perfectly healthy and proportioned woman she’s not fat because assholes like you perpetuate this idea in her head that she’s “plus size”

(Source: ladyandthetrack)

  • 18th April
    2014
  • 18

A very simple behaviour I’m teaching one of our little girlies. Very simple, but I find it very interesting - aimed to demonstrate their flexibility, particularly when catching fish!

She is currently at the stage where she is learning to hold her head 100% still (she began twitching or sliding, and then just looked very twisted) after I remove the target, and then I’ll start removing the target and trying to condition the SD. Oh what, oh what to make the SD?!

  • 18th April
    2014
  • 18
Okay, so here's the plan...

meladejo5:

I start back up with SeaWorld May 1st (yes, I’m going back, but this time to Dolphin Point!) and I know how insanely busy/tired I am going to be. So what I have decided to do is keep my blog (yay!), but I will literally only be reblogging images and will NOT be debating. My Tumblr account is…

I just saw your post debating whether to close your blog - I’m so glad you didn’t! Congratulations on the Dolphin Point position, I cannot wait to see any photos and hear any stories this summer may bring!!

  • 18th April
    2014
  • 18
Hi, I was just wondering if you've watched the documentary blackfish? and what your thoughts were on it?

Asked by: suburbia133

meladejo5:

sweet-kiska:

meladejo5:

sweet-kiska:

loltias:

meladejo5:

Hi, yes I have seen the movie Blackfish.

My honest thoughts about the film are as follows:

One, it criminalizes what I do for a living. While I have spent three years in animal care and training, I did spend the summer of 2013 as a seasonal associate trainer at Shamu Stadium with the killer whales, just to give you some background information about myself. I do what I do because I am in it for the animals, and nothing else. It’s a great feeling to know that I have made an impact on these whale’s lives by providing top notch care for them and enriching their lives, and I absolutely love sharing the killer whales with guests. One of my favorite parts of the day was finding a family and asking them to come meet the whales at the glass in the stadium after a show, or at a random time throughout the day. Honestly, there was no greater feeling than seeing the awe and amazement on their face and being able to answer all of their questions. The connection that was made during that interaction is going to last a lifetime and inspire those guests to protect the ocean and marine animals.

Two, it’s extremely misleading, it very carefully selects and interprets facts to fit its agenda, and it uses several facts out of context to portray or support something. I won’t go through and list every single editing/fact issue I have with the film here, because this would become a very long response, very quickly and I have to be at work in a bit. But if you would like a more in depth analysis about it from me, then I wouldn’t mind getting that together for you. To be honest, this film has made me look at all films labeled as documentaries in a completely different light now that I know how biased/misleading they can be in this day and age. When I was in college, I took a class titled “American Indians Through Film, TV, & Popular Culture” and this course touched on documentaries that featured Native Americans. These documentaries were from decades ago and really captured what a documentary used to be and still should be now: informational, presents and explores ALL aspects of whatever issue/idea is being discussed fairly and unbiased, and contains factual evidence that supports both sides of the topic. Without any one of those elements, it becomes an advocacy film and loses validity as a documentary. That’s one of my largest issues with this film is that it is being portrayed and marketed as a documentary and the audience is taking everything said in it as one hundred percent truth, because they don’t know any better. 

Which leads me to my next point: Three, this film has done nothing but inspire people to abandon critical thinking all together. I believe that this is in combination with the fact that we live in such a technology driven age because information is brought to us, rather than us seeking it. We receive information so quickly now through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media and entertainment, and so readily accept it all as truth without doing any research on the topic. It’s almost handicapped us in a way, which is funny because the internet is full of SO much information right at our finger tips, if we just utilized it for that purpose. Do you remember critical thinking assignments in elementary, middle, and high school where at the end of a chapter in a history or science book, there would be questions that required you to analyze an event/topic and look information up from other sources to help you create a further, deeper understanding of it? A majority of the people I see who currently do not support animals in captivity, more specifically killer whales here, saw the movie Blackfish and have allowed this film to be the only source of their information. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that there are not people who are well educated on the topic and still do not support captivity. There are a handful of those people and majority of them gained their knowledge before the film was even released. What I am saying is that this film stirs an emotional response from people, and fails to elicit a response in the audience that causes them to think logically. 

Those are the three main components that make up my thoughts on this film. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask! :)

I’m on mobile so can’t give a long reply that I’d like to, but the main thing id like to say is you didn’t mention the welfare of the animals. You discussed how the children were amazed and how you yourself loved working with animals, but that’s not what people want to hear about. We do not care about how much humans enjoy seeing animals perform tricks for dead fish, which is apparently “educational”, but how the animals are and how they just simply should not be subjected to small, concrete, not stimulating enclosures. You claim that blackfish is biased, which it is, but only because seaworld made it that way. And now they’re playing victim when they were asked tons of times to be included in the film.

I agree I would love to hear a pro-cap’s thoughts on the animals themselves; for most of them it always seems to come down to “I love my job and the kids love the whales.”
Well…that’s great, but, that’s not what anti-caps are about. We ONLY care about how the animals are faring in their environments.
You seem like an educated, level-headed person who is capable of seeing both sides of an argument….So considering every aspect, do you honestly 100% feel that these animals are suitable to keep in tanks?

Based off of my personal experience with working at Shamu Stadium at SWC, I can confidently state that I 100% believe that the 10 whales living there are in a very suitable environment with quite healthy and enriched lives. It’s hard for me to speak about whales at other facilities, or other SW parks for that matter, because I have not seen those whales up close and have not spent time observing them on a daily basis. Do you have any questions on specific aspects? I would love to answer those for you if so. :)

Don’t think I’m trying to attack you by saying this but I honestly just don’t understand how someone can come to that conclusion if they’re knowledgeable about wild whales. The captives are like 1% of what they used to be/should be. I have no doubt that the whales enjoy the company of the trainers who love them, and they can sense that you mean well, but like… why do y’all think they’re happy when basically all scientific evidence says otherwise? Not very specific but yeah lol. Again, not trying to offend you.
EDIT: Wait, you only worked with killer whales for one summer?

Haha No worries, I don’t take it as you’re trying to attack or offend me!

I don’t necessarily think that they’re happy, I think that they appear to be happy. I really try to steer clear of giving the whales any type of human characteristics or project any of my feelings upon them. The reasons that I believe that the whales I worked with appear to be happy/healthy  go as follows:

1. They eat. The second a whale isn’t feeling well, they stop eating. That’s the first sign that something is wrong with an animal.

2. They engage with other whales and trainers, rather than being lethargic which would be another indicator to bad health. They are very social and you can hear them communicating with each other and see them interacting with one another all day long. I’ve seen them teach each other new behaviors (Shouka taught Kalia the “blowing a kiss” behavior and Makani has learned pretty much every behavior he knows now from the other whales). That modeling is the same modeling that their wild counterparts do. All ten whales can be together at one time and SWC pops open all of the gates at once, allowing all of the whales access to the entire facility. This is done several times a week and during my time there, I never once saw an incident result from it. They participate in sessions and do the behaviors the trainers ask them to do. I have on occasion seen whales “say no” to a behavior and it is standard procedure for the trainers to never ask a whale for the behavior a second time in a row. They saw the signal and chose not to do it for whatever reason. You either move on to something else or work through whatever the issue is the animal has with doing that behavior by approximating up or asking in another way (action taken is based on the relationship established between that specific trainer and that specific whale). They could be confused or unsure about what is being asked, or simply just not want to do the behavior for any number of reasons (they could be not getting along with another whale in the session that day, there’s something that they’ve picked up on that they don’t like about that specific area of the pool, etc.), and that’s perfectly okay. If a whale doesn’t want to gate into a pool for a certain interaction that day, then they don’t have to and they will still get all of their food. They aren’t forced to do any behavior, not to mention you can’t force a 2-4 ton animal to do anything.

3. They breed. I know this is a controversial subject for many people and there are those who don’t see breeding as a sign of health, but rather as an aggressive act and/or as attributed to frustration. However, I interpret breeding, sexual play/aggression between adolescent males, and sexual play between females, as a sign that the animal appears to be happy and healthy. In fact, in my college Marine Biology book by Peter Castro and Michael E. Huber, they mention that in reference to cetaceans, “Sexual behavior appears to have a role in establishment and maintenance of bonds among all individuals, not just potential mates.”, and they also state that “Sex play is an important component of the behavior of captive dolphins. Like humans, they appear to have sex not only for procreation, but for pleasure as well”. 

4. They appear to engage in play-like behavior/have enrichment and mental stimulation. There are several EEDs at Shamu Stadium available to the whales in which they play with, and sometimes kelp is available to them as well. It has been found that killer whales out in the ocean play with kelp, logs, etc. and the killer whales at SWC have the same opportunity to play with objects in the water (that are obviously safe for them to play with). All of the toys are not always available all at once to them so they they do not lose their novelty. There are also disposable EEDs available to them made out of ice and/or gelatin, so if the object is ingested it cannot harm the whales. Trainers play games with them during down time. For example, us trainers went up on the second level of the stage with buckets of snow and little ice cubes while the screens were all spaced out. We ran and hid and popped out from behind screens following no apparent pattern for them to catch on to. The whales would “find” us and we tossed them snowballs and ice. They were extremely engaged and appeared to be having fun, especially Kasatka, Kalia, and Makani. I’ve witnessed Keet play a bowling game with a trainer with the big, heavy blue ball he appears to really favor. We’ve sent buckets of fish down to the bottom of the pools (this was done with different social groups so there would be no dominance issues over food, ie. Kasatka, Nakai, Kalia, Orkid, and Makani, or Corky, Keet, and Ike) for the whales to scavenge for, and you could see them moving back and forth between buckets, and then retrieving the buckets up to the surface to watch them sink back down to the bottom again. They’ve had all pools open and sent the group of whales as a single pod on a scavenger hunt to find trainers hiding around the facility who would give them snowballs and ice, once found. These are just a few examples of the numerous random events trainers plan up that happen every single day all at different times, in different pools, etc. to keep the whales from being bored or under stimulated in anyway. I haven’t even touched on training sessions and how much the whales appear to enjoy these types of interactions. Shows and dines are also used at training/play/relate sessions as well. We would bring target poles out into the stadium during shows or during dines to work on behaviors and criteria of behaviors such as height, placement, speed, etc. 

5. Some of the whales at SWC have come from or lived at other facilities, and it is noticed upon arrival that they do regurgitate their food after a session has ended. Once the behavior has become rehearsed often enough, it establishes itself and is very reinforcing to the whale. There is a calendar in the office at Shamu and each day it has a randomly selected whale. On that day there is something different that will be done with that specific whale to keep them from rehearsing regurgitation, ie. snowballs randomly throughout the day, a certain amount of play time after a session has ended, access to the slide overs, packing snow into a buckets and flipping it over into “ice cakes” and giving it to a whale after a session (Orkid appears to absolutely love that last one), suctioning large jello suction cups to the acrylic windows, tossing melon sized spheres of jello out into a pool and letting the whale go in and find them. Each action receives a grade for how well it worked at stopping the whale from regurgitating so we know which ones to continue doing in the future and whig ones to drop. Also, the action is not the same every time. They variably rotate between actions each day and have figured out what actions work best and are the most reinforcing for individual whales. This calendar was also paired with recorded observations on the whales for a certain amount of time throughout the day. It was apparent that the whales are benefiting quite well from the schedule because we saw almost zero regurgitation happening, and it was completely non-existent with Kasatka and Corky. I’d also like to add that none of the whales were on antacids. 

6. The whales at SWC do not chew on cement/gates and they do not peel paint. I attribute this to the phenomenal enrichment taking place. I will also mention that the whales do log for short periods of time, sporadically though out the day. This type of logging is normal and seen in wild killer whales as well. Just for a quick reference for the logging behavior, I’ll add this here

I hope that this answers your question and gives you insight into my point of view. Please feel free to ask anything else!

  • 17th April
    2014
  • 17

cetuscetus:

I couldn’t see that anyone else had posted this, Wikie’s baby finally has a name; Keijo!

can’t wait to visit this little fellow in June!
  • 16th April
    2014
  • 16

theperksofbeing-kate:

daily reminder that the boy you’re in love with at 16 probably won’t matter when you’re 25.

daily reminder that the math test you failed your freshman year of high school probably won’t matter when you’re graduating college.

daily reminder that the problems you’re facing today may seem like the worlds end, but they will not matter in a year.

daily reminder that you’re going to be okay.

everything is going to be okay.

(via sa-voir-faire)

  • 15th April
    2014
  • 15
  • 14th April
    2014
  • 14
Any advice on training a dog with low food motivation?

Asked by: Anonymous

fullpelt:

Find out what motivates the individual dog.  Your dog loves tug? Use playing tug’o’war as a reward.  Your dog likes sniffing? Use sniffing as a reward. You just have to work with your dog to figure out what it’s willing to work for.

On this note, when my dog had v. low food motivation during a heat, one of the things that worked for her was turning eating into a game - so, instead of passing her the food, I’d throw it high in the air for a catch, toss it into a bush for finding, or roll it along the floor for a little chase. This raised the value of the food a lot, and was nice and easy.

But like fullpelt says, it’s all about the individual animal and finding what they like, and using that.

  • 14th April
    2014
  • 14
  • 14th April
    2014
  • 14
  • 14th April
    2014
  • 14
Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free (via larmoyante)

(via englishmajorinrepair)

  • 14th April
    2014
  • 14

Weird Dog Trainer Culture Things

2ifbifrost:

If a trainer is obsessed with the “place” command and Kuranda dog beds, they’re a low-stim shock jock. 

If they call it “go to mat,” they’re probably a clicker trainer.

If they call it “stationing,” they’re probably a clicker trainer with significant exotic animal training background. 

But if they’re obsessed with it, and with having multiple dogs all on beds while other dogs are working, they’re shock jocks.