Researchers working with dolphins for the past 98 years to determine what sorts of impacts captivity make to a dolphin’s wellbeing have discovered that the size of the smile is the best way to determine how happy they are.
“These fish are really bloody happy.” regales Sheila MacNamara, an Australian dolphin trainer supporting the research at a lido in Skegness. “These feisty fellas are always smiling, and you should hear the clicks and whistles they give out as well – its basically laughing.”
The research has confirmed what many trainers have believed for a long time: Dolphins are at their happiest when performing tricks over and over again in order to please an oppressive overlord who wants to put bums onto wet seats, provided they are paying.
“They are always swim over to the pool side when ever we approach with that big grin. Its pure joy for them.” explains Sheila, wielding a cattle prod and a big hoop on a stick. “I think this thing must tickle, as they laugh their heads off when I push it into their gut.”
The research continues with a focus on understanding whether a monkey’s jumping and shrieking really does mean it’s wildly ecstatic as it grinds the handle of an organ dressed up as a Turkish street urchin.