I believe it. I believe it with all of my heart.
Let me tell you about me and dolphins.
When I was living in New Zealand, I was (technically) in the South Pacific - or the fringes of it, anyway. I figured, if I don't go and see Tahiti now, I never will - this is the closest I'll ever be to it. So I investigated what was available - and it took me less than 24 hours to dismiss all the vaunted wild beauty of BOra Bora in favour of a fairly ho-hum resort hotel on Moorea - not because of anything to do with the actual setting itself, but because of one incredible fact: the Moorea hotel actually had a dolphin research and rehab center built right into it. And there would be a chance to swim with dolphins.
Forget everything else.
I spent maybe 9 days on Moorea, but by the time I left the staff at the dolphin centre knew me by name. I was always there, watching them play, watching them leap, watching them BE - and twice, despite the relatively steep price tag, I went in to swim with them. I hugged a dolphin, and I have a photograph where he and I are nose-to-nose in a kiss; they look at you... LOOK at you... and you realise that behind those eyes is a mind that knows things, understands things, recognizes you. There are no words to describe what it feels like to share the water with these animals, I can only tell you that it's so huge and so wonderful that you find yourself with tears in your eyes and bereft of any other feeling except this huge bubble of love and belonging and elation and sheer joy of being alive and sharing this world with them. They are bigger than you think they are, and gentle, and playful, and - I know I've said this before - they just... they KNOW. They understand.
Years later I came down to Florida to visit my then husband-to-be, and he took me down to the Florida Keys - and one of the first things I noticed by the side of the road was a dolphin centre where you could go and swim with them. I jumped at the chance, despite another steep price tag.
They asked us in the pre-swim talk if any of the women were pregnant. We all said no, and they said, "Are you sure?" Apparently dolphins can sonar-recognise the double heartbeat emanating from a pregnant woman and they will cluster around one, fascinated, ignoring anyoen else - which is why they wouldn't allow pregnant women into the water with them. They told the story of how one woman said she wasn't pregnant, and yet when she went in ALL the dolphins went for her - and they said, do a pregnancy test. And she said she wasn't pregnant, swore up and down that she wasn't, right until the day she phoned the centre, about a week afterwards, and said, "um, you know those dolphins of yuors...?"
My pair of dolphins at this place were a mother and son tag team, and I swear, they behaved precisely like a human family might. They get fishy treats for the things that they do during the session, and every now and then the son would elbow momma aside and snatch HER treat, and she'd just "sigh" and swim off, letting him have it. These guys were trained to signals - if you kind of hung vertically in the water and put out your arms they'd swim up and tuck their dorsal fins into your hands and start motoring off with you at speeds that were startling; another thing was the instruction to float on your back, your arms crossed on your chest, and your feet straight out in front of you - and they would swim around the bottom end, poke their snouts into the soles of your feet, and PUSH. After you recovered from swallowing half the ocean that came whooshing over your head as they gave the first shove, it was absolutely exhilarating - especially when you watched the telepathy and teamwork that went on, for instance when they needed to turn a tight corner the inside dolphin would slow down while the outside one sped up a precisely matching amount and there you went, angled around a corner with a precision that was breathtaking.
At the end of my session I was kneeling at the wooden dock with my arm out over the water, and the kid-dolphin basically leapt out of the water and parked himself on the jetty beside me, tucking himself into the curve of my arm, essentially leaping into a ready-made hug - and just sat there for a moment flapping his tail and looking at me out of those I-know-you eyes before backing up and flopping back into the water again.
If ever, ever,, you get a chance to get into the water with a dolphin, pay whatever is asked of you and grab it with both hands. It is something so very special, something that will never leave you, something that you will always return to when you feel lonely or adrift. WE ARE NOT ALONE. They see us. They know us.