A unique therapy program for traumatized combat veterans brought Iraq and Afghanistan veterans into a pool in Vallejo with dolphins.
A special team of dolphins swam at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom with 10 traumatized combat veterans in a first-of-its-kind therapy session to help struggling war-fighters connect with remarkable sea creatures.
Charles Quigley, an Iraq combat veteran, described the experience as life-altering.
"I probably won't think of anything bad for a couple days now; I won't have bad dreams thinking about this," Quigley said.
People who've had this experience said there's an emotional bond of trust with these highly social, intelligent animals, something the warriors could benefit from.
Muriel Snyder swam with dolphins on her most recent birthday -- her 90th. She arranged this event with Yountville's nonprofit The Pathway Home for veterans.
Snyder, a volunteer, said the soldiers need help.
"People have to realize what they've gone through. We've got to help them," she said.
"It helps them to get away from some of the tragedies they experienced and the shortfalls and disappointments they've had since they came home," said Fred Gusman, of The Pathway Home.
Former infantryman Alex Penalver served three consecutive combat tours in Iraq.
"I have a problem with trust, and so chilling with dolphins is just sometimes more fun than hanging out with people, you know what I mean?" Penalver said. "They can't let you down."
Bret McCauley, an Iraq combat veteran, said this was a positive environment for him where everyone's smiling and having fun.
"It just helps so much, and it fills so many holes we have in ourselves," McCauley said.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.