On November 26, 2006, the death of a 23-year-old sea lion named Eric prompted Krissy Dodge to quit SeaWorld Texas. Since leaving SeaWorld in December 2006, Dodge has never publicly spoken about what she witnessed with Eric (though she did tell family and close friends about it at the time). But she did keep a journal of her experiences at SeaWorld, and recorded the details of Eric's death about a week after the event. Here, for the first time and with the help of her journal, Dodge recalls Eric's death and her departure from SeaWorld.
Krissy Dodge: The main thing that made me feel like, OK, I can't do this anymore, was one of the sea lions in the feeder pool, named Eric. He was sick; we noticed one day that he wasn't eating. He was very old. He had been there his whole life. He was blind. But he was very recognizable and everybody loved him, including all the guests, because he was very vocal and had a turned-up nose.
It all started around mid-November, and after two 2 days of not eating Eric was moved to the back area to be monitored. He went downhill very quickly. One morning I went to check on him and his eyes were horribly sunk in and mucus was coming out of them and his nose and mouth. He was extremely dehydrated. He was given fluids and antibiotics. He just laid limp, he had given up. Fluids were continued for 4 days, each day getting worse. On Sun, November 26th when I came in, I knew he was going to die. He had trouble moving and was in a lot of pain. He had chewed a big hole in his left hip.