Thursday, May 17th, 2001
Ashleigh went first out of the three of us.She was still learning her signals, so most of her session was tactiles and the like with some occasional jumps and pec touches. Geoff and I kept ourselves busy with videoing and photographing the session for her. One of the pictures I took of Ashleigh is so good, dare I say it might be one of the best pictures I've ever taken. Julia had asked Geoff to film Ashleigh's session with her video camera, so that's what he did.
One of the things they have put on hold for the dolphins is any kind of mouthing on any toys. A few years ago, Phoenix and Ake had developed some mouth sores at the very back of their mouths that they eventually found to be nothing serious and was treatable with some mild medication. Nonetheless, to help prevent the spread of these sores to the other dolphins, they had been trying to keep the dolphins from using their mouths to pick up and play with balls and other toys. Sometimes they do use their mouths to make things easier on them, but usually they find other ways.
More than anything else, this session helped me to understand that developing the ability to assess what it is the dolphin wants to do is without a doubt the hardest thing to learn.
When I had stepped down, I wished Geoff luck with Phoenix. I told him she wasn't in the best mood and he'd probably have to keep things simple. I'm sure anybody, not just dolphins, would get a little frustrated having a bunch of novices come up and tell you to do a bunch of stuff they barely know the commands for. Ake is certainly a lot more patient than Pho is in this regard.
I video'd Geoff's session and managed to get a few pictures. Most of what he did was low energy behaviours, since Phoenix had to have most of the high energy behaviours repeated to her.
I spent 3rd session entering behaviour observations into the computer. They have quite a backlog of sheets that they haven't entered into their database yet, most of which is nothing more than the dolphins rubbing along the tank and chasing each other. It's quite tedious, but necessary if they hope to understand the dolphin's behaviour. I was entering in data from about 2 months ago along with Leonard and Geoff.
We left early so we could prepare food for a party the lab had planned for the departing spring interns.We all took a taxi over to Dr. Herman's house about 15 minutes down the highway from the participant house at around 8 pm or so. The party was a lot of fun, and everyone brought food so there was plenty to eat. Most of the people from the lab came dressed up as something or another, following the costume theme of the party.I grabbed the shorty wetsuit Geoff had brought and put it on so I at least looked a little dressed up. The best dressed person there was probably Mattias, who still denies even being there.He came as a clogged toilet, or so he said, with every part of his body covered in toilet paper pieces and a white plaster mask covering his face.Other than telling a few people what he was supposed to be, he didn't say a word to anyone all night, and he left early so no one was able to find out for sure if it was him. I was fairly sure.
It was a fun party, and I'm happy to have been included.
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You may use the pictures and content from this page for school and personal use ONLY. Please feel free to use the pictures as your desktop background, in school projects, or give them to friends, as long as they are unmodified. The material on this site is NOT permitted to be used on other websites or for comercial use without written permisson from Rob Harrison.
Feel free to email me if you have ANY questions or comments, and be sure to sign my guestbook!