My rules about connecting with dolphins is to do things on their terms, when they are ready. I spend my summer being around them both from in the water and from my kayak. What I have noticed is, when a dolphin is ready to connect, it is an actual feeling I get inside myself that lets me know that. Their body language also tells the story but, because of how much time I spend with them, it has become clear to me when they are ready for contact.
Sometimes, when I touch them, they just hold still. They make the move first (I offer my finger) but then, different things follow. Usually by this time, I feel on their wave length so I know what is going on with them, and they absolutelly understand where I am coming from. I have long since figured out they like chasing my finger in the water when I make circular rings . . .that is a game. But the touching is something else. It is an exchange and it is always very thrilling to me when that happens.
We humans are verbal. (So are dolphins, for that fact.) When we call friends or family on the phone just to catch up, that is a form of reaching out and touching someone (Ma Bell used that as a powerful advertising message for years until the phrase became iconic). After a phone call, somehow, the call ends and we go back to other things.The call could go on for minutes or hours but the end result is, we touched and were touched by someone else, and the exchange had meaning. We don't give it much thought, but without such reaching out, who knows what the impact would be. Not good as any elder in a nursing home can tell you.
So much of what I learn from dolphins boils things down to its essence. To touch a dolphin, feel the connection, feel this has meaning for them and feel the "afterglow" shows me in a nutshell, the power of what happens when any two, be they human or other, reach out to touch, especially when we have no agenda other than wanting to connect. Dolphins do this with each other constantly - just rub a fin on a passing dolphin, and we humans do some of this but likely not nearly as much as we need to feel like 'pod members' with all of the safety and satisfaction that implies.
This is the time of year for spreading cheer. A holiday card reaches out and touches, and so does an arm around a waist in a moment of spontaneous affection. Maybe fewer words and more touching is what we hunger for. What do you think? Let me know.