In this memorable first book, Behind the Dolphin Smile, Richard O'Barry told the inspiring story of his personal transformation from world-famous dolphin trainer (Flipper was his pupil) to dolphin liberator. Now, in To Free a Dolphin, he passionately recounts the dramatic story of his heart-breaking campaign to release captive dolphins back into the wild. With wit and insight he chronicles the extreme opposition he has faced from bureaucrats, major players in the captive-dolphin industry, rival wildlife groups, and well-meaning sentimentalists. He introduces readers to famous show animals he has helped, including Bogie and Bacall of Key Largo. And, most fascinating, he describes his struggles to deprogram and rehabilitate dolphins emotionally scarred from years of captivity--struggles that become battles for the animals' souls.
O'Barry is nothing if not controversial--passionate about his mission, adamant in his beliefs. And it is some measure of the incredible strength of the opposition to animal rights that it requires all the cunning, all the persistence, and all the strength of character O'Barry possesses to undo even a part of what the billion-dollar captive-animal establishment has created. In the movie, it may be child's play to free a killer whale like Willy. In real life, doing what is right is not so easily accomplished. Whatever one's beliefs about animal rights, one has to admire O'Barry as an authentic American original with a distinctly American dream.