Friday, July 31, 2009

Dolphin and young girl connect!

The connection between a young girl in Texas and a dolphin in Florida is inspiring that young girl to triumph over her disability.

From the time they met, it was love at first sight.

"I thought since she just loves me and I love her, we could talk to each other often and see each other," said McKenna McGough.

It is an unlikely source of encouragement for a girl who always felt different.

"Lots of my friends didn't have hearing aids, and it made me feel really uncomfortable about it," said McKenna.

Born hearing impaired, McKenna was always embarrased to wear her hearing aid or to talk with others about her condition.

Just two years ago is when a trip down to Clearwater, Fla. changed her whole world.

"It did surprise me how she was just relaxed and just loving on me," said McKenna.

There, she said she found strength in a little dolphin that could, named Winter. The dolphin was rendered tail-less after an accident.

"She's not so shy to show her stump, so why should I be shy to show my hearing aid," McKenna.

"It was a big blessing because after we saw her for the first time, McKenna started wearing her hearing aid," said McKenna's mother. "She started talking to people openly about what was wrong."

After McKenna met Winter, she wanted to know everything about the dolphin, much of which she learned in a little book. She even said she wants to be Winter's trainer when she grows up.

"I want to give back to Winter because of all the things she's done to help me," said McKenna.

That meant going without on her birthday so that Winter could have.

"She invited all of her friends and said, 'You know, just bring money or make a donation to the aquarium for me so that I can do presents for Winter,'" said McKenna's mother.

For McKenna, it was the least she could do, and she said it was a way to thank Winter for everything the dolphin did for her.

"She's helped me in not being afraid to be different," said McKenna.

McKenna has been able to see Winter six times in the last two years and said she looks forward to many more visits.

She's even had a chance to watch Winter's trainers fit the dolphin with a prosthetic tail.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"