Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Loss To Our Community

I received a phone call yesterday at around 4pm from a local news station. They asked me if I was aware of what took place at Sea World Orlando earlier in the day. Having been at work all day, I was not.
The reporter informed me that a whale trainer had been killed by one of the whales at the park. She asked if I could comment on why this may have happened. I declined to comment, having never worked with marine mammals before, I didn't feel comfortable giving my input.

After hanging up the phone my thoughts immediately leaped to a colleague of mine who trained whales at Sea World Orlando. "What if it was her?" I thought to myself.

Upon arriving home and turning on the local news, I learned the sad truth that in fact it was my fellow animal trainer and dog lover, Dawn Brancheau.

My heart fell to the floor as everything around me became a blur. I phoned a co-worker who knew her as well to share the news and we commiserated.

I've spoken to many of my friends here in the Central Florida training community and we all feel her loss. We are, very much a family. One love, one passion. And yes there are dangers to what we do, but the joy of the job far out weighs them.

Dawn volunteered her time at her local SPCA, using her vast training knowledge to work with the homeless dogs and make them more adoptable. She truly loved animals. Her bright personality and infections spirit will be missed.

My only hope is that no rash decisions are made about the life of the whale...I hope that the whale is allowed to live out his life, as I 'm sure Dawn would have wanted it that way.

Swim in peace now Dawn, swim in peace....

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