The unique human-dolphin connection serves as the basis upon which the Dolphin Reef was established and developed. We believe that in order to develop, enjoy, and preserve this connection over time, we must bring to the human-dolphin encounter mutual and unconditional goodwill. What this means is that in our encounter with the dolphins, our focus is on one another, wherein we see the encounter as an end unto itself, and not a means to achieving some other end.
A person who comes to an encounter with a dolphin in a spirit of respect, consideration, and sensitivity, free of the desire to achieve anything except the encounter itself, will derive the most from it: feelings of warmth, power, serenity, joy...
Of course, it takes two to tango. In order that the dolphin will derive the most from the encounter, it too must focus on the human as an individual, and not on the human as a means to achieving an end.
The onus for conducting such a stress-free encounter is on us, the humans, since we have control over intervention in the dolphin's social structure and the fulfillment of it's primary needs of food, habitat, and so on. The dolphin, on the other hand, can offer only itself and its friendship.
If we wish to meet dolphins who are free of the expectations that they will receive something from us, we must refrain from exploiting that same power of control to which we referred, and instead act on one of the following alternatives:
- Unconditionally fulfilling the needs of the dolphin which are possible for us to fulfill, without any connection to the encounter, OR
- Not fulfilling those needs at all, therefore not creating expectations on the part of the dolphins to receive anything from us, so that they continue to be responsible for fulfilling their own needs.
We believe that the preferred path leading to the optimal human-dolphin bond is a combination of the two approaches, wherein the tendency is to always lean toward the second approach (meaning minimal intervention in the incidents / needs for which our intervention is essential), while at the same time acting in accordance with option no. 1 (that is, to supply those needs unconditionally).