How Winter The Dolphin Inspires The World

This sea goddess from Clearwater, Florida is a movie star. But she still takes the time to wave a flipper to her fans.

1. Meet Winter, a 7-year-old dolphin who swims with a prosthetic tail. / Via The Clearwater Marine Aquarium

You may have seen her happy grin on the “Today” show.

2. She is the star of Dolphin Tale, your little sister’s favorite movie.

Starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman.

3. As a young orphan, she was rescued off Florida’s east coast. A fisherman found her tangled in crab-pot lines and gravely injured. / Via Clearwater Marine Aquarium

A SeaWorld rescue van carted baby Winter to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which used to be a sewage plant. The CMA was small, hardly like the mega-aquariums in Orlando, and lacking resources. But a vet and trainer worked tirelessly to save the calf.

4. Her tail had to be amputated — and against all odds, Winter survived.

And thrived! She learned to swim with and without her prosthetic. Her trainers describe her as feisty and energetic. People call her the “bionic dolphin.”

5. Her story made waves, and Winter became a Hollywood star! She even landed a sequel, due out next year.

Via “Dolphin Tale”

6. But Winter shines most off-screen. She inspires kids who also wear prosthetic limbs.

Via “Dolphin Tale”

Her message: it’s pretty awesome to be different.

8. From around the world, they write her letters. / Via Clearwater Marine Aquarium

11. Because so many tourists visit her home (and buy stuffed Winter dolls there), the aquarium is working to build her a cooler pad.

Via Tampa Bay Times

And maybe even a entirely new aquarium, according to local news.

12. Awash in this attention, she still performs her regular shows.

Like a boss.

13. And swims around like, “What’s the big deal?” / Via Clearwater Marine Aquarium

14. Fame hasn’t spoiled her. She still maintains a responsible schedule.

And powers through that physical therapy!

15. And she’s cool living with her pool-mate, Hope. / Via Clearwater Marine Aquarium

16. Life can be wonderful even after tough breaks.

Via “Dolphin Tale”

Winter is living proof.

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