There is nothing more gratifying than helping someone in need. And when humans extend that kindness to an animal in need, it is just as heartwarming.
Rocky, as he is affectionately known, lost his flipper and suffered shell damage when he was hit by a boat in Florida.
Because of the injuries that Rocky, aged between 25 and 30, suffered, his time in the ocean was cut short as he was unable to swim very well because of his disability. The Key West Aquarium rescued him in 2001, and he began using a life jacket-type device.
But this year, everything was about to change for the sea turtle. The aquarium contacted Kevin Carroll, who had created a prosthetic for a dolphin this year, to help make Rocky a new flipper.
Carroll journeyed from Orlando to take the turtle’s measurements and began building the prosthetic in his spare time with the help of his team at the Hanger Clinic.
And finally, on Nov. 15, Rocky was carried to the water at the aquarium, where he swam for the first time with his prosthetic flipper.
Stunned at first, Rocky didn’t understand what was happening. He was so used to swimming with his stump that he failed to realize that he now had the use of both flippers.
But it didn’t take long for Rocky to catch on and swim for the first time in over a decade with two functioning flippers.
Rocky splashed and played feverishly and even got his friend Nora in on the fun.
Nora, another sea turtle, also has a missing flipper, but Carroll and his crew were quick to tell her that she would be next to receive a prosthetic flipper.
Since receiving his flipper, Rocky has been undergoing regular physical therapy and no longer swims in circles.
“I find that with turtles they have an energy about them, a willingness to work with you,” Carroll explained.
“If they could talk, I think they would be saying, ‘Let’s do this.’”
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