Wounded Warriors receive dolphin therapy in the Florida Keys

Posted at 8:12 AM, Jan 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-09 09:53:36-05

More than 30 wounded U.S. military veterans interacted with bottlenose dolphins in the Florida Keys on Sunday, receiving physical and emotional therapy.

It came at the conclusion of the three-day Soldier Ride cycling event along the Keys Overseas Highway.


According to a Florida Keys News Bureau, the soldiers suffer from various injuries ranging from missing limbs to traumatic brain injury,

While visiting the Dolphin Research Center, they shared dolphin kisses, flipper shakes and dorsal pulls as they learned about marine mammals.

Dolphins at the center have been interacting with wounded warriors for more than 25 years, according to Mandy Rodriguez, a Vietnam veteran and chief operating officer of Dolphin Research Center.

"Every animal is magic and they accept you for who you are and that's a big deal for us warriors," Rodriguez said. "Look, every wound is not a physical wound and there are a lot of wounds that can't be seen.

On Friday and Saturday, the wounded warriors pedaled across the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, including the Seven Mile Bridge.

The ride was organized by the Wounded Warrior Project to raise public awareness and support needs of severely injured members of the military involved in Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.