Guest Dede Albright Rector

It really is a great blessing to have the opportunity to experiment with these five blogs. Guest blogging is a cool thing to do, and to offer to others. And sometimes, timing and events are uncommon, as you will see in a minute. Today’s Guest Blogger is from Orlando, Florida, Dede Albright Rector.

Our Guest Blogger
Our Guest Blogger

Just a Pebble in a Pond

My regular Wednesday morning started off with this Facebook post: Dede Albright Rector: Today and everyday…”know that I will do more than just pass through this life, I’ll leave nothing less than something that says I was here.”

It was late in the afternoon when this came across my (radar), knocking the breath out of me: Bethal Bird – Dede, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend…here’s another story. Very tragic. Take care.,0,942688.story

About an hour later, my husband walked up to me as I tried to work at my desk, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I thought you would want to know. It has been reported that Dawn knew what she wanted to do with her life the day she and her family visited SeaWorld, when she was 9 years old.”

Very First Female Trainer At SeaWorld
Very First Female Trainer At SeaWorld

And, suddenly, I was remembering my own moment of clarity: about 9 years old myself and standing in the stadium at Miami Seaquarium, awestruck by my first dolphin show, then telling my parents afterward, “I’m going to do that someday.” And I did. I became the 1st female trainer at SeaWorld of Florida, in 1978, starting at the Seal & Otter Stadium. In 1979, I was reassigned to the Killer Whale & Dolphin stadium.

Dawn visited SeaWorld with her family in 1979 or early 1980.

Later that evening, I posted this: Dede Albright Rector: Struck by the Laws of Unintended Consequences colliding with It’s A Small World. Awed by how a seemingly tiny ripple can become a tsunami. We are all interconnected, and make such awful mistakes when we forget that simple truth.

I am proud to have been a very early part of what became a revolution in animal training and has since spread across the entire zoological community. Back then and to this day, my colleagues and I made a difference in the lives of millions of people and some incredibly special creatures. I am even prouder that I paved the way for other little girls to follow a dream. Though it was, at times, dangerous work, never did I imagine that one of us would die doing what we love.

Now, how I ache and hurt for this young woman’s family, friends and colleagues – including the animals who were her most beloved co-workers. But, I do not regret following my dream – not for one moment – and I don’t think Dawn does either.

I am, however, reminded that we never know who we will influence, whether we are in the conscious role of leadership, or simply living our lives next to others. The small drop of our personal pebble in the pond continues to ripple and expand and encompass so much more than we can ever imagine. All the more reason to make every day our very best, and to do what we love with the utmost care and love, always.

Editors note: Dede would like to offer this Song for today’s readers. It was part of all that was happening during this tragedy, and an important reminder for all of us.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.