Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine alum’s work featured in Dolphin Tale 2

Published: Sep. 24, 2014 at 7:44 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2014 at 7:41 AM EDT
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Veterinarian and AU alumna Juli Goldstein is shown with Harry Connick Jr., one of the film's...
Veterinarian and AU alumna Juli Goldstein is shown with Harry Connick Jr., one of the film's stars. ©All rights reserved by Auburn University

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Written by Janet McCoy

Veterinarian Juli Goldstein is living her dream job, and right now, it's being featured on the big screen in a Warner Bros. movie.

Goldstein, who graduated from the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2003, has a cameo appearance as herself in the movie "Dolphin Tale 2," which features the work she and other marine mammal experts did to save a dolphin named Hope.

The film, starring Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman, is a sequel to the 2011 hit movie "Dolphin Tale." The original film tells the story of a rescued bottlenose dolphin named Winter, who was fitted with a revolutionary artificial tail at Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida.

"The premiere in Los Angeles was a blast," Goldstein said. "It was a whirlwind of excitement, and I got to walk the blue carpet and do media interviews.

"It was a lot more glamorous experience than my everyday scrubs," she laughed, adding that the premiere was the first time she watched the movie from start to finish. "I had seen clips but I wanted to see it with an audience."

"I cried especially during the parts I was directly involved in because it was reliving those moments."

Goldstein also attended the Florida premiere in Clearwater, where the movie was filmed and said she enjoyed seeing it with a local audience. "It was fun to be a part of that audience because everyone there knew Winter and Hope and they knew the locations of the film. It was nice to watch their response to the movie."

Warner Bros. Pictures and Alcon Entertainment's "Dolphin Tale 2" opened nationwide Sept. 12.

Goldstein was an integral part of Winter's and Hope's real-life stories. She served on the research committee that helped develop a prosthetic tail for Winter and rescued Hope on the night of the wrap party for the first movie.

Filming on the original movie was being completed when Goldstein and colleague Steve McCullough, a marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation expert, learned of Hope, who was found near death in the Northern Indian River Lagoon. The duo stabilized the two-month-old animal and managed to keep her alive during a 170-mile journey across the state

"Rescuing Hope on the night of the wrap party was really like a Hollywood script unfolding," said Goldstein, who has had extensive training that focused on the husbandry, care, assessment and medical treatment of stranded and captive marine mammals. "That night really was the beginning of Hope's story, and it feels really special to bring both these stories to the public."