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August 5th, 2000

Duso the Dolphin

Recently I had a flashback to kindergarten and first grade guidance class. The guidance counselor would come around to each classroom and talk about “issues” — ranging from behaviorial issues to social issues. What stands out most about those visits was that our counselor brough along “Duso the Dolphin,” a hand puppet she used to get across her messages to the younger children. There were usually stories constructed along the way in a serial type of fashion, and it left us kids wanting to know what happened to Duso and his friends (Lefty the Octopus, Soupy the Turtle, Clarissa Clam, and Salina the Swordfish).

Did anyone else have Duso as part of their curriculum?

Thanks to the wonders of the Net, a search for Duso has turned up some information. First, Duso actually stands for Developing Understanding of Self and Others. And apparently, some people don’t really care for ol’ Duso. And either does this person. And this article criticizes Duso for being “new age” (guided imagery) and points to the dolphin as one of the possible causes for Columbine. Ouch.

I always thought Duso was just a nice break in the middle of the stressful kindergarten day! -ram

Posted in Childhood Memories

FROM: Tony
DATE: Saturday August 5, 2000 -- 7:31:24PM
Jeeze, why dont those article writers blame something else on DUSO, like world hunger, or maybe terrorists...yeah thats it DUSO causes little Iranian children grow up to want to go postal on any Americans, and start massive holy wars.
The people who wrote that crap, really do not knwo what there sayin....thats awful aparent.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Saturday August 5, 2000 -- 8:37:42PM
Tony -- yeah, I was surprised. I think a lot of it is that because it's "guided imagery" (or as they call it, "guided fantasy"), that parents think it's some new age hocus pocus. The same way that a lot of people look at meditation as some weird mystical thing, when, really, meditation is just a focusing (or unfocusing, as the case may be) of the mind that generally results in a much more relaxed physical state. I would bet that a lot of the parents and other critics of DUSO is that because of it's so-called "new age" nature, that it doesn't belong in school or that it goes against their Chrisitian ideals, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Seriously, looking back, I saw nothing bizarre about the program -- it was just an enjoyable storytelling session. It may or may not have been relaxing, I don't know, but I looked forward to it each week, and I sincerely doubt that it adversely affected me (though some may argue that point... :) ).

FROM: Matt
DATE: Sunday August 6, 2000 -- 12:38:39AM
and besides only the power of satan could cause what happened in columbine, wether the cia was involved or the kids worked alone it's still satans work.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Sunday August 6, 2000 -- 2:14:49AM
Why can't we just tell kids things WITHOUT putting characters to it? I blame Disney for all this.

FROM: Tony
DATE: Sunday August 6, 2000 -- 8:26:46AM
As Ryan mentioned, all of those articles mention Christianity more than once, Id like to see a Hindu or Islamic view on it. It happens to be that a lot of those "holy roller" types are very closed minded, and judge a book by its cover way to often.

Hey, at least your guidance counselor did something, the one at my school never left his office.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday August 6, 2000 -- 11:28:04AM
Robert -- Actually, I think tecahing kids with characters is OK... while enforcing the point, it also helps to stimulate their creativity (something public schools need to do more of).

Tony -- I'd also be interested in hearing other views on it. Certainly with Buddhism and Hinduism, where meditation is much more a part of daily life, they'd approve of it. Islam, I'm not sure what they'd think.

And this particular guidance counselor later became my third grade teacher. :)

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday August 6, 2000 -- 11:31:40AM
And something else I forgot to mention, is that the majority of Christians didn't have a problem with DUSO, at least when I was growing up. And that's because most Christians have a head on their shoulders and can see things for what they are -- it's the religious right that seems to have the biggest problem with it (from reading those letters)... especially the Watchman link where it seems that any group that isn't theirs is considered a cult.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Sunday August 6, 2000 -- 10:55:27PM
The Religious Right is neither...discuss amongst yourselves.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Sunday August 6, 2000 -- 11:13:23PM
haha Rob good one

FROM: Tina
DATE: Thursday October 19, 2000 -- 10:05:31AM
The only reason I remember DUSO is because that was the one time Kimberly Zabkowitz pulled her fly on her pants down on purpose so Jake Scrinksky would definitely chase her around on the playground at recess because she was "easy". Yes, my elementary school was a little fucked up. Sorry.

FROM: Marcus Mackey
DATE: Sunday October 22, 2000 -- 11:52:26AM
Honestly, I think that it would be the exact opposite that could stand as the root of something like Columbine. I'm baptized Catholic, but I find my own religion to be the gravest irony in the world (hence I don't choose to practice Catholocism or any other organized religion, I just pick and choose my own ethical beliefs) as they themselves are the one's talking about a sense of spiritual holyness, yet... Inquisition, anyone?

I feel that time set aside every day to reflect, is a sort of non-religious meditation that allows one to free their mind of stress and anxiety. While school teaches a lot of things, it does not nor ever has taught how to deal with stress in a youths, teens, or adults daily life, and I feel a lot of these violent situations come from a lashing out from youths being overstressed and high-strung from the stresses of dealing with the "popularity" contests that high school seems to be.

Kindergarten of course lacks it's own stressful tendencies in comparison to other periods of school life, but the first day of Kindergarten or Pre-school is always one of high stress for children who are not used to the phenomenon. I feel that schools for a large part of their curriculum should look at stress reduction training and techniques as a way of teaching children how to handle circumstances in their lives. I know, I'm probably a radical extremist; just my vantage and I tend to think of myself as a liberal under these regards.

As far as attaching characters to underlying morals or storylines... Robert, you must remember that children have very, very, very short attention spans compared to adults. Then again, adult attention spans in the modern era are diminishing as well. To keep children clued in, symbolisms are attached to characters to draw attention.

It is scientifically found that children better associate with cartoons. I mean, Disney can't be blamed for this, children should in a way be. Yeah, you heard me "children"! The original Disney Mickey Mouse cartoons were designed for adults, much as Rocky and Bullwinkle were. There was a lot of "symbolisms" that are above children's heads in early cartoons. The market didn't change to children until it was realized that children associate and are fascinated by cartoons than adults are. A lot of it ties in with the fact that children's appreciation for fantasy is much moreso than adults who become more tuned into reality as the realities of life set in. This is changing in the modern era as adults are getting more fantasy generated contents, and as more growing adults continue to cling to movies of a fictional surreal content. So in other words... expect the continuance of more fantasy driven content geared towards adults in the future.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday October 22, 2000 -- 7:55:16PM
Marcus -- Great post. I think that if kids knew and applied stress reduction techniques, things would definitely take a turn for the better. The question is whether school is the place for them to be taught. There is a lot of backlash against stuff like that, citing the separation of church and state even though meditation can really be a non-religious, strictly physical/mental activity... the United States in general needs to take a shift towards preventative medicine rather than focusing all its resources on cleaning up the mess after the fact.

FROM: Kris Kessler
DATE: Wednesday November 22, 2000 -- 4:45:09AM
I can't believe I ran into this. I'm a guidance counselor looking for information on DUSO to possibly use it with the Kindergartners I work with. When I first learned of DUSO, I was a grad-student in the mid-70's in special education. I had no idea it was still around because I never really liked it. But my colleagues did, so I'd like to find out where it is made and how to contact the publisher.

The surprise was finding you. I loved reading all of your comments. I'm from Littleton, CO and never in a million years would I have put DUSO together with Columbine. I no longer live there, but I lost a friend in the disaster.

Thanks for the update on what is happening with DUSO!

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday November 22, 2000 -- 9:16:14AM
Good to hear from you, Kris. Honestly, as a former student that fondly remembers DUSO, I'd recommend it or something like it. The fact it was linked with the Columbine incident is just silly, and an example of how a lot of people are afraid of anything that seems the least bit introspective (meditation, etc.).

FROM: Chris Sutor
DATE: Tuesday January 30, 2001 -- 4:25:15PM
I remember Duso.... Duso was cool. All this garbge about him being a satanic brainwashing tool, and responsible for stuff like Columbine is stupid, and it should be pointed out, comes from the same baptist bible thumpers that think He-Man, Ghostbusters, and the care bears are tools of satan too. I don't get the idea that taking a bunch of kindergarten-aged kids, and getting to close their eyes and actually THINK creatively is somehow bad for them. Listening to someone tell a story, and making up the images in their heads as they go - am I the only one who finds a parallell in that to the old time radio shows such as "Little Orphan Annie" or "The Shadow"..? And yet we don't we hear horror stories about kids turned onto guns and drugs by Orphan Annie, do we? I don't hear anyone, for example, blaming World War Two on her.

It's just another case of those wacky baptists condeming something they don't like. And aparrently they don't like it because it makes kinds think...

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday January 30, 2001 -- 4:55:28PM
Chris -- Yeah, it's a shame that DUSO's had such a stigma attached to him (it?)... too often things like this which encourage creativity end up being labeled as "new age" or "anti-Christian." There's no reason that Christianity and simple guided imagery or meditation can't coexist...

FROM: Chris Sutor
DATE: Tuesday January 30, 2001 -- 5:33:51PM
I think there's more to it than that, Ryan. I found ths little nugget on one of the links attatched above.. the writer of the Barbara LeMasters. page (yes, the final period is part of the url), after a truly ridiculous horror story about how her child had turned into a depressed, anxious, bedwetting freak, condemns Duso for it with the phrase "It was pure values clarification and critical thinking. It had raped my child. "

CRITCIAL THINKING. The ability to apply logic and reason to an agument. The single skill without which it's impossible to judge the likelyhood and merit of a claim. Also sometimes called "Bull**** Detection"...

Now, why would a parent be against their kid being able to apply critical thinking and rational logistics to what they're being told, hm?

And it's pretty obvious that her entire story is either made-up or a radical blame-shift, since there's no way at all for the ability to reason rationally being the cause for what appears to be a nervous breakdown. In fact, her charges sound exactly like the kind lodged against videogames, rock music, and stepping back a bit further, the supposed witches at Salem.

Personally, I pity the kid. I'd probably be a neurotic mess too if I had that crackpot for a mother. Can you imagine what this poor schlob's life is like? Probably makes Norman Bates' seem like a disneyland vacation.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday January 30, 2001 -- 5:51:20PM
Chris -- I re-read that link (it's hard with such large blocks of text!) and am disturbed by her tone: "I knew yoga
when I saw it." Egads.

What's funny, and that I didn't notice the first time: the school system where I was raised was mentioned (Medford, NJ).

FROM: Shannon
DATE: Tuesday March 27, 2001 -- 10:46:47AM
I am quite familiar with the Duso program and its curriculum. My mother has been an elementary school guidance counselor for years and has used that puppet and its accompanying books for as long as I can remember. She even used it with me in my younger years. Now the question is: "Is DUSO an insidious, deviant program geared to sour the minds of children and infringe on their 1st ammendment rights?" Why don't we just look at this a little less meticulously? These are pretty young kids. They don't see the psychological implications as we might. They see a dolphin hand puppet. They hear stories about talking animals in the ocean. And the stories, when used properly, are threatening by no means. When an teacher tells some of these kids about appropriate behavior, it goes in one ear and out the other. But they'll listen to a hand puppet in a heart beat (irony?) DUSO tells kids not just about grieving loss and other emotional issues, but also about friendship, sharing, etc. And DUSO isn't the first. Look at the TV. All those cutesy shows your kid may watch before he even starts school contain a lot of the same elements. If you're going to complain about puppets and counseling, you should look at DUSO's forerunner: Sesame Street. Of course kids aren't forced to watch Sesame Street in school, but they aren't forced to listen to DUSO either. There's no law that says your kid has to accept education that may "infringe upon First Amendment rights," if you really believe that. But I'll tell you that my mother has received much acclaim in three separate school systems for using DUSO from teachers, administration, and parents alike. And the kids love it. They even request it.

Blaming DUSO for the Columbine shootings is simply riduculous, but not surprising. I mean, people have used practically everything else for a scapegoat: music, television, video games....why not a hand puppet? I was exposed to those things as a child. I watched the gory horror movies. I played the violent video games. I read Stephen King at age 10. I was exposed (gasp) to DUSO. But did I go on a shooting spree? Can't say that I have. So what went wrong with the Columbine kids (the shooters)? The answer isn't in society, it's in the home. Kids aren't born psychopaths. The home environment is what makes or breaks a kid. The parents of the shooter said things like, "Uh, he padlocked his room, and I suspected he was up to something, but you know kids are kids, and I didn't want to invade his privacy, etc." THAT'S the problem. Not hand puppets.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday March 27, 2001 -- 2:16:27PM
Amen to that. All of it.

FROM: Zack
DATE: Monday April 23, 2001 -- 3:07:29AM
Ms. LeMasters has gone a bit overboard, but I unfortunately have to agree with some of her sentiments. I vaguely remember DUSO (mostly the theme song: "so long, DUSO, we'll see you again..."). Funny I should remember that line best, as it signalled the END of the session, which probably was a great relief for me. I seem to recall absolutely dreading the sessions a great deal. The Duso program appeared to be an exercise in conformity, and I guess even at that age I could sense there was something deeply wrong with its anti-individualistic nature.

Particularly I recall one in which the story ended up making me cry uncontrollably -- a few weeks earlier, the class bully (a kid named Dwayne) had attacked me. You have to understand that Dwayne was a violent, unrepentant bully, and most kids in the class were terrified of him. Our teacher, whom I heard was later institutionalized, ended up blaming the attack on me and punishing me for it (can't deny there was some racial discrimination going on there, as well). Something about the DUSO story that week set me off, and the most horrifying part was that when I started crying, Dwayne decided he would try to console me, putting his arm around me, telling me it was "okay". I wanted to disappear, or at least get up and run away, but Dwayne's "kind actions" were viewed favorably by the guidance counselor, as though this were some sort of healing experience. I guess that was the "spirit of DUSO"

Thanks, DUSO, for all the emotional scarring you provided during my formative years. I'm sure it what helps makes me the cheerless INDIVIDUAL I am today.

FROM: Andrew
DATE: Wednesday June 13, 2001 -- 11:00:10PM
I was in primary school in australia in the early 80's, and had DUSO classes...
I don't remember much about it except that the 'lessons' he learned seemed painfully obvious to all but the mentally retarded, and that you could change the words to his song.
Actually, changing the words to "Hey DUSO, don't come out" was one of the earliest memories of group hilarity I have. It seemed very naughty and funny at the time. This has sparked me to think about a whole bunch of other bizarre structured programs I had in school, like "Study Book"...
Australia was a bit weird, as apart from our own stuff, we were fed english, US, canadian and god knows what else material!

FROM: James
DATE: Friday August 3, 2001 -- 1:19:46PM
I too, had DUSO story time when I went to elementary School in Florida in the early 70's. I don't remember much about the stories, though. I do recall the last time I saw him, though, we were in 3rd grade and I recall how happy I was to see him again.
A couple of years back, I thought I'd look to see if I could find a DUSO puppet for my kid, and I was astonished to find out it was a prepackaged curriculum and DUSO's name was an acronym for some guidance counselors lesson.
I was also amazed that a lot of people resented my pal DUSO

FROM: Phil
DATE: Saturday September 15, 2001 -- 2:08:28AM
I just did a search for Duso on Northern Light; reminiscing. I didn't know that he'd raised the ire of the religious right; I just remember stories designed to teach kids to be nice to others. I had no idea he was controversial, or that the Aquatron stuff had religious implications. It's nice to see that Duso is still around; I remember my guidance counselor using the program about 15 years ago; wasn't sure if any guidance counselors today were still using him. Good to see other people also remember this.

DATE: Sunday January 13, 2002 -- 6:34:20 pm
Here is a site that raises some legitimate concerns over DUSO.

Why is it so hard to find material on this program over the web and outside the education community? If it is so great, why don't we see more positive reviews around it?

It is not surprising how many people have been successfully brainwashed. After all, we allow our children to be brought up in the hands of strangers for the most impressionable years of their lives and think nothing of it. Some of your responders should try reading some of John Taylor Gatto's stuff. He is not an anomaly --there are many other teachers and ex-teachers who hold his views; not to mention those of us outside the teaching industry.

Wake up people!

FROM: Tristan
DATE: Friday January 18, 2002 -- 10:41:26 am
for some reason i had the sudden urge to go online and look up duso the dolphin this morning. and i found this page. what a world we live in.

anyway, the thing about people saying duso is a tool of the devil and all that is really weird to me because i was actually sent to a christian elementary school in the early 80s, and my first grade teacher told us duso stories. she had all the hand puppets and everything. i just remember thinking it was kind of funny to have a talking dolphin. i guess some christians didn't object to it, at least not at the time. i don't think either of my younger siblings had duso though, so parents might have complained. kind of sad.

FROM: Tim Shepard
DATE: Thursday October 10, 2002 -- 5:45:05 pm
I was just searching the web for where I could find a DUSO puppet for my kid. I loved DUSO when I was in elementary school. I find it strange how grownup people find a need to criticize children's edu-tainment these days, I'm thinking Teletubbies, Barney, Mr. Rogers.
I just want to tell these people, grow up and leave the kids alone.
What I find even more weird is that DUSO is being presented as "New-Age" when I used to enjoy him in '73. I don't remember anything about the stories, but I always thought the guidance counselor who brought him into class (She had such a high squeaky DUSO voice) had invented the character.
How dissappointing to find out it was a nationally syndicated program.

FROM: John Jordan
DATE: Tuesday October 22, 2002 -- 1:58:31 am
I agree with you all the way! In fact, when I was on the 1st grade and they pulled this on me, my Dad and Uncle went and fought the school. My school gave in and gave Duso the boot. If people know anything about Commuism they would understand the dangers of Duso and Pumsey the Dragon. It's evil, we don't need a dolphin to take our problems to, we have Jesus Christ!!

FROM: John Jordan
DATE: Tuesday October 22, 2002 -- 2:01:12 am
Sorry about the spelling mistakes above, I am in a hurry to get to bed! Anyway, the message remains.

FROM: Karen
DATE: Saturday November 23, 2002 -- 10:03:54 am
As a parent of a Kindergartner, I can say that I think the program is really nice. Maybe because she has been read to so much, but my 5 year old seems to understand and relate to the Duso stories. Once we were at the Target, and she couldn't reach something she wanted to look at, she pipes up with "What would Ruby Redfish do?" When asked she explained that they heard the story of Ruby who could only swim in circles because she only had one fin, she wanted to swim in a straight line, so she thought of swimming upside down, then right side up with her one fin, to achieve her goal. I was sort of blown away that it had that much influence on her, and how smart Ruby was is solving that problem.

FROM: Vince
DATE: Wednesday November 27, 2002 -- 10:43:10 am
I remember DUSO from first grade (1975-1976). I wasn't particularly fond of the teacher who told the DUSO stories, but I enjoyed the break from class. I don't particularly recall any specific agenda beyond a general "be nice to others" and "use your brain to solve problems" kind of message. Maybe our DUSO puppet was defective.

Honestly, I fail to see how anyone could come to the conclusion that teaching children how to use their mental faculties to help them succeed in life is some kind of insurrectionist plot to destroy our civilization. Of course, the folks who think this will use my statement as evidence that either I am part of the plot or I've been successfully brainwashed. It's amazing how adamantine your beliefs can be when you are free from having to support them with reasoned thinking.

FROM: John Jordan
DATE: Saturday December 28, 2002 -- 2:19:27 am
Maybe the DUSO program that some of you, who advocate its use, differed from that of my own experience. I vividly recall my first grade year (1991) when the DUSO program was first introduced to my school. Sure we heard inspirational “little engine that could” type stories mixed with “it doesn’t matter what others think because you are special” kind of teaching. But mixed with that good was a tiny bit of bad. Did you know that Rat Poison is only .5% Poison? Look on your own box of DECON or whatever Rat Poison you use, it will say that it is something like 99.995% good food, but it’s that small portion of poison that kills the Rat. So it is with lies like DUSO. My DUSO instructor would follow up each session with a period of time at which the children were encouraged to “tell” on their parents. If our parents spanked us or yelled at us we were supposed to share this with the class, the teacher and of course DUSO. One could argue that this was merely an attempt to rescue abused children from their parents, but I fear that in doing so children were coerced into a very Soviet style brainwashing. In Communist Russia the schools taught the children to “rat out” their parents and that is exactly what DUSO did! My teacher also taught us to take a rock and paint a face on it. We were to name that rock and put it in a secret place in our room. Anytime that we had any problems or cares we were supposed to talk to this rock. This rock was to be our friend when all others, friends, parents, Jesus, turned their back on us. DUSO is nothing more than an attempt to drive a wedge between children and their parents, I know from my own experience what it did to me. It took along time for me to stop blaming my parents and being suspicious of them, as taught by the beloved dolphin. One must be nothing less that willingly ignorant to not see that there is more than childhood fun driving the DUSO program. You can scoff at people like me all you want but remember this--Adolf Hitler was elected by the majority of the people and Communism’s goal was to promote Communism with non-Communist hands. People who stood against Hitler were “crazy” but look who was right. Why do people think that these type of sinister plots could never happen to them in their lifetime? People have been lulled into stupidity, I don’t think that everyone is a part of a plot or that they have been brainwashed, I simply think that ignorance is bliss and some folks are to scared to even consider the possibilities that exist beyond their own happy existence

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Saturday December 28, 2002 -- 11:21:43 am
Sounds to me, John, like more of a problem with your teacher than with the DUSO program.

This rock was to be our friend when all others, friends, parents, Jesus, turned their back on us.

Did she really say that? Did she really mention Jesus turning his back on you?

FROM: John Jordan
DATE: Sunday December 29, 2002 -- 3:00:04 pm
I do not believe that she mentioned Jesus by name, but she did say that we would all reach a point in our lives where everyone we love would seemingly turn against us. When we reached this point of having no one who cared and no one to turn to we were to confide in this rock. Now I don’t know what your personal beliefs are but Jesus Christ is the only Rock (I Corinthians 10:4) that I will ever talk to. What do you think about the attempt made to get the children to give personal information about their home-life and their personal relationship with their parents? Do you really think that it was the school’s business if my parents spanked me or disciplined me in other ways? I sure don’t! Another “exercise” that we were taught by DUSO was how to meditate. We were to all close our eyes and let our minds drift off to “magical places” where we would engage in activities with mystical creatures and so on. If Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had a DUSO program like mine it’s no wonder how their perceptions of reality and fantasy were blurred! Granted most kids didn’t even pay attention to the DUSO stuff, they just liked getting out of class, but still some children had to be affected in some way by all of this--I was. If you get past the fuzzy puppet and the feel good junk all you have (at least in my school) is a program that encourages children to make their private lives public, talk to a rock instead of family or Jesus, and feel sorry for yourself because “you‘re a good person and people who oppose you are just bullies”. The first year that this junk was introduced to our school a group of parents went and had it removed from my school--thank GOD. Again I say, history shows us that programs like this are always used by the government for bad reasons why can’t we see that now? “Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it” and that is exactly where America is headed.

FROM: John Jordan
DATE: Sunday December 29, 2002 -- 3:14:22 pm
By the way, I hadn't read the above comments about Meditation and I didn't read that ladies article at the beginnig of this where she mentions Columbine. I just didn't want to sound like I was going over the same old stuff, I just failed to read all the other posts, but I still stick with what I said. Your replies are anticipated :)

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday December 29, 2002 -- 7:14:00 pm
We were to all close our eyes and let our minds drift off to ?magical places? where we would engage in activities with mystical creatures and so on. If Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had a DUSO program like mine it?s no wonder how their perceptions of reality and fantasy were blurred!

Wait... meditation and fantisizing/daydreaming can lead to two kids going on a killing spree? That's a pretty far jump... methinks there are lot of things besides a little guided imagery that blur people's minds to that point.

I do not believe that she mentioned Jesus by name, but she did say that we would all reach a point in our lives where everyone we love would seemingly turn against us.

I don't remember this at all in the DUSO program. I also don't remember ever being encouraged to "tell" on my parents, though if there is abuse in the home, I would think that something that makes kids feel OK to talk about what's going on rather than keep it bottled up as "mommy and daddy's little secret" is a good thing.

I'm still amazed at how people are looking at this relatively simple program and considering it some sort of liberal new age brainwashing and a direct attack on their Christianity...

FROM: John Jordan
DATE: Monday January 6, 2003 -- 1:10:07 am
Well first off are you a Christian? If not, then of course you wouldn't understand. If you are then why doesn't this offend you?

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday January 6, 2003 -- 9:21:14 am
Yes, I am Christian.

I'm also open-minded.

Again, I think some of the things your teacher had you doing were inappropriate, but I think your teacher is more to blame, and not the DUSO program. For such an innocuous little program, it seems to have gotten quite a bad rap with very little evidence to back up why. The most I've seen has amounted to: "We don't want meditation techniques forced on our children!" (And isn't prayer a form of meditation?)

FROM: John Jordan
DATE: Tuesday January 7, 2003 -- 2:57:56 am
First off, I think I can pinpoint where you and I are going to differ some--it’s going to be the concept of being “open-minded”. If by open-minded you mean that I should consider other possibilities besides Jesus Christ being the one and only way to Heaven I disagree. The Bible clearly states that to be the case and if I didn’t believe the Bible with all my heart I wouldn’t be a Christian (in my opinion). I am all for being open-minded concerning more trivial matters for example: if I hate Shakespeare but someone could convince me to become a fan or if I hated Chinese food and someone changed my opinion. I am not monolithic in every aspect of my life but I DO consider the Bible to be the ultimate guideline for life. As such, if something is out of sync with the Bible then I know that it’s wrong. In short, I am open-minded about everything in life as long as it does not contradict the Bible.
Now, you said yourself that prayer is a form of meditation--I agree. Meditate means: to consider thoughtfully; to intend; to ponder especially on religious matters (Webster’s Dictionary) Is DUSO religious? Would I have the right to be mad if a program in the school instructed children to “meditate” or “pray” to Buddha, Mohammed, Zeus, Amen, Thor, Satan, etc.? In my mind these gods and beings are all the wrong ones to be praying to, or meditating on. So why is it different if it’s a dolphin named DUSO instead of a devil named Lucifer? You know as well as I do that if a public school program instructed kids to meditate, they wouldn’t even have to pray (as in worship) but just to contemplate Jesus Christ the teacher, the program, and probably the school would be in deep trouble with the ACLU and other Liberal nuts who want to keep Christ away from our youth. So why do the Christians, right-wing fundamentalists that we are, always have to acknowledge, encourage, and accept everything else?
DUSO is also somewhat like a psychotherapy program. The methods used by DUSO are very similar to those used by professionals to help patients cope with their problems and deal with life. The problem with that is the administrators of DUSO are NOT qualified to be giving this “help” to the students. Ultimately I guess I look at it like this: I’m sure that some students were not changed at all by DUSO. If they were Christians before, they were Christians after, and if they weren’t they remained that way. I also know that some Christians were negatively influenced by DUSO and it is that aspect that makes me mad. DUSO is not necessary nor is it appropriate for a Public School. If parents wanted to send their kids to (and pay taxes for) a place where kids were taught to meditate on a dolphin, talk about troubles at home in public, and let their minds wander off to the land of OZ they would have done so! Fact is, that isn’t the case at all. School is for Academics, reading, writing, math etc. not self-help sessions. Like it or not there are parents who feel that DUSO is in conflict with the Christian Bible and do not wish their kids to be subjected to it! If schools are so adamant that DUSO is going to be used they should offer a special after school session so only the kids whose parents wanting them to go could. Or the Christian children whose parents oppose this should be offered and alternative during DUSO time, maybe Bible reading in the Library! Most of all, all the parents who are not even aware that there is a controversy over DUSO should be made aware to all the opinions of those who oppose the dolphin not just those who “worship” it.

FROM: Rob [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday January 7, 2003 -- 8:52:09 am
Lucifer told me to kiss the dolphin.

And I did.

FROM: Andrea
DATE: Thursday January 30, 2003 -- 5:27:04 pm
First of all, John, my mom was the Duso teacher in my class (1978) so I doubt the program tried to separate kids from their parents, and second, my mom; that did Duso for my class, played the organ for a baptist church for 33 years! Being a christian is a relationship you have with God, and it is a decision you make. The Holy Spirit resides in me and I would NEVER have thought of Duso in any other way but as an awesome tool to help children make decisions in life. Hello, Veggie Tales are used to help children and they don't always mention Jesus! Can you tell me where Jesus is mentioned in the Cheeseburger song? I didn't think so.

FROM: John Jordan
DATE: Thursday February 6, 2003 -- 5:17:46 pm
Okay Andrea, I will believe you when you say that your mom was an organ player for a Baptist Church, I mean you could just be using that to help your argument, but I doubt it. But, just because she and you and I are Christians does not mean we are perfect. Is it possible that she was wrong? I know I have been wrong before, so I assume maybe you and her could be, at least concerning this. My point is, just because you are both saved Christian and you both accept DUSO doesn’t make you un-Christian, but it certainly does not make DUSO right! My 68 year old aunt and uncle have been Christians since they were teens and my uncle has been a preacher for almost 50 years and they BOTH think DUSO is WRONG! The HOLY SPIRIT resides in me as well, and I thought DUSO was wrong, so are you telling me that I am not as Christian as you because I think DUSO is wrong? So see, it’s a matter of opinion. You should research Communism and see how much they used DUSO like programs to control the country. Adolf Hitler said “let me control the textbooks and I will control the State”, see schools are a target of evil. You may need DUSO to make you feel better and to tell your problems to, I’d prefer Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit the REAL Comforter.
You’ll have to excuse my ignorance, I don’t know what the Cheeseburger song is, sorry

FROM: sean [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday February 16, 2003 -- 4:57:57 am
What about the Letter People?! Mr. T and his Tall Teeth... Mr. M and his Marvellous Marshmallows? They were in my classroom every week and they taught me how to build low-grade explosives. Damn public education.

FROM: Debbie
DATE: Sunday August 3, 2003 -- 7:57:17 am
Wehn I taught second grade in public school, the counselor came into the room once a week to share Duso with the class. It was a great program and both the children and I looked forward to the visit. I remember the song "Hey Duso coe on out!" I think it is a great program and programs like these are necessary in helping the students deal with everyday problems.

FROM: Debbie
DATE: Sunday August 3, 2003 -- 7:59:30 am
When I taught second grade in public school, the counselor came into the room once a week to share Duso with the class. It was a great program and both the children and I looked forward to the visit. I remember the song "Hey Duso come on out!" I think it is a great program and programs like these are necessary in helping the students deal with everyday problems.

FROM: Tristan
DATE: Friday September 19, 2003 -- 11:07:17 pm
I bought the entire DUSO kit on EBAY for 50.00 Because when i was little i remember that DUSO just made me smile. I also want DUSO to make my children smile. everythimg else you all talk about is just politics and B/S what is wrong with something that maks a child smile?

FROM: John Jordan
DATE: Friday October 3, 2003 -- 4:32:46 pm
If a child asks for a machine gun and you give it to them, they may smile but it's still wrong.

FROM: klein burnett
DATE: Friday October 3, 2003 -- 10:51:39 pm
OK i looked up DUSO today probably for the same reason the person who started this thread did. because i remember him as a child. now growing up my mother is a christian and i grew up with the beliefs my mother passed on to me. as i have gotten older i started to question the church and its system of beliefs and when i was 16 i stopped going to church. why? was it DUSO/satan? i will get back to that but DUSO i think was a great program and tool i didnt have to rat on my parents or make a rock to talk to. maybe the actual DUSO program was made to be some kind of subversive mind control thing because i remember my mother got upset about DUSO being used in my classroom because she read somewhere that it was bad. she talked to the teacher and found out it wasnt maybe the teacher wasnt using the whole program i dont know at the time i thought like others on this thread did that my teacher made up DUSO. on that same note we had a guy come in a few times with some puppets called the M&M team which stood for mel and his mighty messengers which originally was a religious show that taught kids about jesus and such at churches and sunday school lessons using puppets. i remember as a kid feeling sad that the message had to be toned down as to not rile up any parents with its christian tones. but looking back i agree now in a sense because there might have been kids in my class that were islamic or buddhist and you would have parents putting up such a fuss, but at the same time what about freedom of expression? i dont have an answer and i went way off on a tangent and was going to have a point to this post but apparently i dont haha. anyway DUSO in the right hands is a tool i think the stories what i remember were a good way to teach children to use there minds as a tool. so basically DUSO is a tool just like a gun, a gun is not evil it does not covet your wealth or seek to do you harm, DUSO is not evil he is a puppet but in the wrong hands i agree he can damage young kids minds. but you see all kinds of inconsistancies everywhere and that is why i stopped going to church because the people who create each sect of christianity mold its beliefs to fit there own needs. i remember the last time i went to church was for a christmas service and i remember seeing a picture of jesus and mary and thinking wow no wonder jesus was peresecuted constantly him and his family were the only white people in israel at the time. so anyway i guess this is my point anything can be used in a bad way be it DUSO, guns, christianity it all comes down to the person behind it and what they are using these tools to accomplish. there im finished i tried to put up a good arguement and sound intelligent but think maybe i made myself look like an idiot. oh well you people dont know where i live haha

FROM: Melanie
DATE: Monday October 13, 2003 -- 2:11:16 pm
I am currently an Elementary School Counselor. Throughout all of this, no one has citied a single ACTUAL quote from a DUSO lesson. I think it is terribly important to have first hand information about something before you condem it as evil. I happen to have a DUSO kit, so here's an example of a story I use with my Kindergarteners and First Graders:

(Begin the activity by playing the first stanza of Hey Duso)

Helloooo boys and girls. This is Duso the Dolphin with another story for you. Today I want to tell you about my little nephew, Squeaker. One day when Squeaker was just a young dolphin, I saw him sitting sadly on the bottom of the sea.
"What is the trouble, Squeaker?" I asked. "You sure look sad."
"Oh, Uncle Duso, I don't think that I will ever learn to swim as well as you can." said Squeaker. "You can do so many tricks and things. And I can only swim along very slowly."
"Maybe you need to give yourself more time." I told the little dolphin, "You're still a young dolphin."
"No matter how much time I take, I will never learn to jump as high out of the water as you do." said Squeaker.
"Come and take a little swim with me," I said to Squeaker. "I would like to see how high you can jump."
We swam up to the top of the ocean. Then I said, "Okay, Squeaker. Let me see how high you can go."
The young dolphin got a fast start and jumped as high as he could. "You see, Uncle Duso," he said as he swam back, "no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get my tail above the water."
"Why, Squeaker!" I said, "that was a very nice jump for a young dolphin to make. I can remember when you were a baby just learning to swim."
Squeaker thought for a minute. "I guess maybe I have learned some things since I was a baby," he said.
As we swam along and talked some more, Squeaker began to see that he was learning more than he thought.
"Thanks, Uncle Duso," said Squeaker, as he swam away, "I guess I can learn things. I will keep practicing. If I learn a little bit each day, pretty soon I should be swimming and jumping as well as you!"

The purpose of this story is to help children recognize their growth and achievements. Its one of several stories that I use with my students. Afterward we talk about how each of the characters felt in the story and what they learned from hearing it.

I've never told kids to paint rocks
I've never told kids that Jesus will turn away from them
I've never suggested that kids be suspicious of their parents
I happen to be a Christian myself. I have been a primary teacher of Children's Church at my Baptist church for nearly 15 years. In this time I have learned to let my love and concern for children guide the work that I do. That love and concern comes from my Lord and Savior who directs the work that I do everyday. I am a Christian who believes that Duso can be a great tool for teaching kids to understand their own growth and the world around them.
I encourage anyone who feels that they have a strong opinion about Duso to take a look at a kit for themselves. Basing your opinion on what you have heard from others, or what you can remember about Duso from you own lessons over a decade ago does not give you a full picture. Be a trully critical thinker and look for yourself.
Thank you.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday October 13, 2003 -- 4:58:36 pm
Thanks, Melanie. It's good to hear the point of view of someone who's actually using DUSO. It's nice to see you haven't lost your mind like some of visitors apparently have. :)

FROM: John Jordan
DATE: Tuesday November 11, 2003 -- 1:40:51 am
I think Klein made the best point, DUSO himself is a puppet, the instructor could make him Preach the Gospel or sponsor Terrorism. DUSO is a tool and thus conforms to the will of the “craftsman” and I think THAT is where the problem comes in. If the teacher/counselor giving the lesson is Christian, it will probably have a Christian bias thus offending non-Christians, if they are not Christian it may have a bias that is looked upon negatively by Christians. That is certainly what happened to me, as my teacher did paint rocks, etc.. So, are we to have the school monitor each DUSO lesson to endure that it is 100% neutral and inoffensive to any individuals families moral, ethical, and religious beliefs? I should say not. What we should be thinking is that the school is there for a purpose, churches have a purpose, Psychologists have a purpose, etc.. I don’t think that a public school (where the Pledge of Allegiance is found to be unacceptable) is the place to offer such a controversial thing such as DUSO. You’d better believe that if a non-Christian person complained that a program was too Christian it would be removed immediately. And I think it is time for the Christians to stand up and say that this is our Country too. The Dolphin doesn’t bother me, it’s the hand firmly rested inside of it, talking to our kids about personal issues that worries me. Again, I had a horrific experience and I am SURE that this does not happen everywhere and may even be the exception BUT how many people have to be negatively influenced before it becomes a hindrance more than a help?

FROM: George
DATE: Monday November 24, 2003 -- 4:27:44 pm
Right wing reactionaries are always looking for some villian to blame for the world's troubles. First it was dinosaur fossils in Kansas, (or was that eohippus in Tennessee?) and now it's a puppet.

God help us all put up with these idiots!

FROM: Joe Blowe
DATE: Tuesday December 9, 2003 -- 1:05:07 am
Keeping the thread going...
I too unerwent the "DUSO experience" in Kindergarten and 1st grade, which would have been 1974-1975 in Denver Colorado. (Old Alcott Elementary off 44th and Tennyson if that means anything to anyone...)
Anyway, I ALSO had a recent "flashback" to several of those sessions where after the puppet guided us through the story, we were told by the teacher to lie face down on the floor, close our eyes, breath with deep breaths, and imagine joining DUSO in some magical place in the ocean somewhere. I then remember the teacher playing some music, which now I would classify as "New Age", which had ocean sounds. I recall that some of my classmates did NOT want to lie down or join in, and they were pretty much ordered to conform by the teacher.
Anyway, as the music played, I thought I heard voices speaking in the music, and was about to ask the teacher about it, when I too was admonished for NOT being quiet and following instructions, and told to lie down and play along.
Now does anyone else remember having music with their DUSO sessions, and if so do you recall hearing ANY voices within the music?
Was this a subliminal part of the instruction?
Please understand that I'm NOT speaking to satanism or the causes of Columbine, etc.
My ONLY point here is that we were 4, 5 MAYBE 6 years old at the time, did we REALLY NEED to undergo all of this?
Looking back, I wish at least my folks would have been fully briefed and consented before we were subjected.

IF this is true, (I say IF), then the powers that be should at least have the guts to admit it, and not try and hide anything!

I'm interested in any thoughts...

FROM: John J
DATE: Friday January 2, 2004 -- 8:09:55 pm
If people question anything “traditional” they are thought of as free-thinkers or revolutionary. But, if someone questions a more “new-age” type of idea they are called right-wing reactionaries. Why is that? People will freely accept DUSO, but will flip out on anyone who finds fault with it… what would DUSO think.

FROM: steph
DATE: Wednesday January 21, 2004 -- 7:28:04 am
I had this "flashback" moment when i was in a graduate developmental class. I saw the acronym DUSo and the song came flooding back to me. I'm 32! Thanks for helping me know I'm not crazy too.

FROM: Casey
DATE: Thursday January 22, 2004 -- 9:03:18 pm
I stumbled here while trying to show my friends who Duso was, as we were discussing favourite childhood books. I feel bad for some of you; your teachers were scary and clearly had some of their own psychological issues which twisted what was just a cute book series.

The only evil that came of Duso for me was the fact that I coveted him for myself. I hated sharing him with the class and hated the way the other children got their kid germs on him. His white plush had become gray and slightly matted as we all know plush can become with too much love and attention. So I can remember wishing he was all mine and that other kids wouldn't kiss/drool/touch him and get him so dirty!

First I've heard of all this conspiracy theory/religious nonsense! Go Duso!

FROM: Gail
DATE: Saturday January 24, 2004 -- 8:58:40 am
Wow, It is amazing to me that a little plush dophin seen maybe once a week could stir up so much emotion and be blamed for so many ills in this world. But no one seems to have a problem with what kids watch on TV day in and dayout has having any effect on their personalities!?!

FROM: John J
DATE: Wednesday January 28, 2004 -- 3:54:13 pm
Oh, I'm worried about what's on televison, movies, radio etc.. DUSO was a cute dolphin, but usually that's how those type of things work. Let's not forget Chuckie, :)

FROM: Mike Regets
DATE: Saturday March 13, 2004 -- 4:53:28 pm
Wow! I'm amazed! I was in the shower one day last week and all of the sudden the tune of the DUSO the dolphin popped into my head and I can't get rid of it! Even though it's been years since I've heard it, it was such a impressionable time in my life and I can't believe that I remember all of the words to that song! Scary huh! anyway, it's cool that I didn't dream DUSO the dolphin up and that it actually was a part of my past. Don't remember exactly what all of it was about just that my teacher would bring out this blue case and open it up with a LP playing in the background and she would try to use the hand puppit while on some kind of downers! She could never be a lip sinc artist, I hate to say it!

FROM: Kate
DATE: Tuesday April 27, 2004 -- 9:34:24 pm
I was thinking about Duso today and his world of Aquatron and just had to google him. I'm very excited to have found this message board and to know that so many other twenty/ thirty-somethings found DUSO a rewarding experiance! :)

I find it very sad that John J and many other misguided right-wind Americans use DUSO as an anti- Christian symbol when DUSO’s message was one of love and understanding. Ultimate how we should treat every person with the basic right of: human dignity.

Unfortunately, many church goers, like John J, blindly follow their church fathers without mindful reflection on the written scripture and/or the underlying messages. The result is that they become not the followers of Christ, but the dogged chattel of myopic leaders much as the German’s did in 1930 (Oh, wait! Didn’t we already hear the argument?).

As a teacher in an inner city school, I personal attest that:

1) I teach because I love all children: black, white, Hispanic, rich, poor, spoiled or stinky

2) I’ve never met a right wing Christian that’s taught in an inner city school. Actually most say, “Aren’t you afraid to teach there?”

3) DUSO was positive influence on my life.

4) I have realized that it is not my place to judge or to condemn others, rather to intiate Christ’s teachings and leave the rest up to Him.


PS John, thought you might need a refresher:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew, 22: 37-40

Long Live DUSO!

FROM: robyn salmon
DATE: Monday May 24, 2004 -- 1:06:06 am
as a brand new finishing my degree substitute teacher on evalutations day,the first class i went into was sixth grade. they kind of did what they chose to, ,within reason. the next class was a kindergarten class.
i was instructed to do duso with the kids. the co-teacher was busy and kept looking over saying 'move the puppet ' with your hands.
the kids followed old duso around s the tape played.
d.u.s.o. you rock

the next

DATE: Friday May 28, 2004 -- 3:53:23 pm

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday May 30, 2004 -- 11:32:08 pm
I like web pags.

And I'm in a hurry, too! To avoid giving you information!

FROM: kerry clark
DATE: Wednesday October 27, 2004 -- 10:24:35 pm
I am 35 yrs old and recently flashed back to my introduction and interraction with Duso the Dolphin. I think that I was probably 4 yrs old in Calgary Alberta which would have been in approximately 1974. I remember the lessons fondly and it's as simple as that. In fact, I am going to introduce my two little girls to Duso as soon as I find him again. At this moment I am about to launch my search . Anyone who has issues with Duso is obviously a loser looking to blame their own ineptitude on a puppet?

FROM: Chris
DATE: Monday November 15, 2004 -- 5:45:22 am
I cannot believe it. I too woke up this morning and had an urge to look up duso the dolphin. My grade 3 teacher used to do it for us. Man seems like a long time ago. Is there a site or has anyone found any picture's of duso online? That is what I really wanted to see, just for nostalgia's sake.

FROM: Jason Ward [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday November 18, 2004 -- 2:10:39 am
OK, I'm about to go to sleep tonight and suddenly I think about Duso and have to look him up on the internet. (what is it about Duso that makes some of us have to suddenly remember him and look him up?) I thought my elementary school in Texas in 1975 was maybe a little odd for having Duso and was just thinking someone from my hometown may remember him. I can't believe he's still around! I can't believe he's national!

Duso is a hand puppet. If you think a hand puppet is a threat to Jesus, your religion or democracy, send me an email so I can hire a fleet of hand puppets to come to your town and take over. Why did the Russians, Saddam, North Vietnam, Nazi Germany, etc... even bother with weapons when we are so vulnerable to the mighty hand puppet?

Hey Duso, come on out. We like your songs and your stories, too.

FROM: phillip
DATE: Saturday November 27, 2004 -- 12:49:57 pm
I, being a recent immigrant to this country in 1979, age 19, and cautiously and suspiciously and critically viewing American culture because I was a new-comer, can offer additional insight. At the time I was an education major at a liberal arts, church-related college in Bethlehem, PA, and doing teaching Practicums at several of the local elem. schools where I would encoumnter DUSO - being done properly; none of the freaky' experiences, as reported (some accounts appear to be far-fetched) by several contributors to this thread, were observed.

Initial impressioi? 'Cute', 'Neat' too. But more poignantly, I was pleased to see

DATE: Wednesday December 1, 2004 -- 3:32:07 pm
I have used Duso stories for a long time and they are simple and great for kids. There is no guided fantasy,
imagery junk or meditation in the stories which upsets a bunch of religious right people looking for a way to get famous and wealthy. Yes,
wealthy!! They go on big cruises, have expensive travel accounts and live far beyond the humble preachers I was raised around. The kit is not good information. Yes, it has guided
imagery, fantasy, eastern religion meditation, hindu and buddhist idealism. I don't think the kit is in print any longer! Throw it out and keep the stories. None of the junk is
in the stories. The kids love the good
moral endings with real life issues.

FROM: et_phone_home
DATE: Monday December 27, 2004 -- 4:39:57 am
I likewise had DUSO pop into my mind after not having heard it since about 1975 and google brought me here. I don't recall anything more than a storytelling session and listening to some tunes. I see that John J admits that DUSO's performance is based on whomever the puppeteer is. Thus, DUSO is not at fault. The teacher is. I'm just sorry he went to such a whacked out school. It is clear that something has adversely affected half of his brain.

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 2:40:27 pm

FROM: Bill
DATE: Thursday June 9, 2005 -- 10:58:15 am
I am an elementary school counselor who has used DUSO stories in Kindergarten classes since 1985 in three different school systems in Indiana and Ohio. I came across this website searching for a new DUSO storybook because mine is getting rather worn. In my twenty years of counseling and using DUSO, I have had one time when a parent tried to lead a group against my using DUSO in Kindergarten classes. Once the parents heard and observed how I used the DUSO program, no one but the original parent had any objections, and she stopped her crusade. (Also, Pumsy the Dragon came under scrutiny at the time, but that's another story.) I only tried the guided imagery part of the program once in my career, and based on the children's reaction to it - being silly and not able to calm down - I quickly stopped using it. The stories are wonderful and very appropriate for what Kindergartners deal with daily. There have been times when I've considered dropping DUSO from my curriculum, but the Kindergarten teachers convince me to continue using it. the only complaint I hear from parents now is that their children never stop singing the "Hey, DUSO" song at home! Now, can anyone tell me how I can get a DUSO storybook that isn't falling apart?

FROM: Jeremy
DATE: Tuesday August 9, 2005 -- 2:24:25 pm
I too remember DUSO from my elementary school days. I was just singing the "hey DUSO come on out" song here at work and my coworker thinks I'm crazy...Maybe DUSO made me do it...

DATE: Tuesday September 20, 2005 -- 12:41:48 pm
I was an elementary school guidance counselor for four years starting in 1976 and used the DUSO songs and stories throughout those years--with great support from teachers, students and parents. Recently, the daughter of our friends started teaching kindergarten, and I mentioned to her the DUSO series. She knew nothing about it. The DUSO memory stimulated me to Google it and I found this site. I also learned that Don Dinkmeyer, the series author, just died in 2001. Look at his credentials and you can easily see that he was not some evil mind terrorist. I can't believe the lawsuits that were initiated to stop DUSO. Kids need more opportunities to learn about personal identify and positive interactions with others.
For info on Dinkmeyer go to:

FROM: Ilene
DATE: Tuesday October 18, 2005 -- 11:09:21 am
Too funny, I had the same flashback, and I did the same thing, I googled Duso, and here I am:) I swear, Duso is the only thing I remember from Kindergarten:) I'm now a very productive adult, so it didn't hurt me one bit. Only fond memories of my friend Duso the dolphin:)

FROM: Autumn
DATE: Monday January 30, 2006 -- 5:42:14 pm
So here I am at work opening a bill from a company named Duso-box. Guess what happened next...
Hey Duso come on out ...we like your games and stories too...
I couldn't stop myself from pondering half the day about that little blue puppet and what has become of him.
As I sat here giggling to myself at remembering something so long ago forgotten, I just had the urge to see if he was still swimming. My goodness look what I found!

People, stop the Duso bashing.
Everyone knows that you should take responsibility for your own actions and not to blame others for something bad that you've done.
Hello...were you not paying attention in class when Duse taught us that!

FROM: Holly
DATE: Wednesday February 15, 2006 -- 12:22:38 pm

While it is clear that the educational system of whatever country Tony went to school in (I'm guessing America) failed him academically, I must wholeheartedly agree with his support for Duso the Dolphin. A lot of people criticize Duso for being new age however, the idea of using animals to 'talk' to children or to help them learn is age old, as storybooks will attest. I've seen Duso used in classrooms that I've worked in and while it may not solve problems, it definitely led some of the more lost children back into the fray, helping them to engage in social interactions, dialogue and song, which of course is the key to understanding where you fit in to the dynamic.

To accuse an academic initiative to help children understand themselves in a social context as being a contributing cause to Columbine is so absured it doesn't warrant any air time.

FROM: Doug C
DATE: Monday March 6, 2006 -- 2:54:42 pm
I have found this thread very interesting.

I remember being very concerned when my youngest was attending elementary school. (He is now 18 years old and a fine young man.)

I agree whole-heartedly that the teacher using the curriculum / program is the main influence, good or bad. But that's true of so much of public education these days.

In the case of "Concerned Parents vs. DUSO and friends, et al.", I would like to say that in my case, I was more concerned with the second-grade(?) teacher than the DUSO program. My kiddo was given guided imagery lessons.

I am a little paranoid about new age ideas (back then even more so) by personal choice. But the "looking for DUSO's help for problem solving" and the "closing your eyes to dive deep into the ocean to find DUSO" did concern me. These are quotes from my son when he returned from school a few times back then. He liked it and participated. He said he and his classmates all chose (with the teacher's help) one of the critters they could each relate to or the one they were most like to be a kind of guide.

I think our society and our public education system does not do enough to teach our kids to think. Animal Farm says it all. But shared values and affective education are tools of society as well as the education system. (Wouldn't a little more shared values and common culture be good for those who come to America but do not integrate?) Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I do not find them these sorts of programs to be innocuous or satanic, but somewhere in between.

The teacher using the DUSO program had been a little bit unusual. They spent 3 weeks on halloween activities (because it was a big holiday for her since she was born on Oct 31). We requested that our son be allowed to opt out of halloween activities without being made to feel uncomfortable. But our requests were not honored. He colored halloween pictures, went to a haunted house, and ate a gravestone cake. Oh sure he survived, but gee, we did ask to opt out.

She also gave our 2nd grader an adult sized backpack. When he asked why she said that someone was watching him through the window and seeing the good work he was doing, presumably because she did not want to embarrass him about a backpack that was getting worn out.

There were other oddities, but I do not remember them now. Time adds perspective, no?

Anyway please no flames about the religious right, okay? I am a very well-balanced, open-minded -- but spiritual -- person and the road I have travelled is not your own.

FROM: Mike J
DATE: Tuesday April 11, 2006 -- 12:52:00 pm
Wow, I'm glad I'm not the only one who has had a DUSO flashback!

I went to elementary school in Mid- Missouri around the years 1980 to 1983. Our school counselor used to bring ol DUSO around every month or so...

anyone remember this one?

"it takes cooperation, paticipation, that is the way to get things done. It takes cooperation, paticipation, that is the way to get big job done. You have work together, work together, that is the way to get a big job done." It might have been sung "in the round"
anyway, subliminal or not, I think they just drumed it into our little heads, and hey, I guess it's a positive message.

Of course, we probably all sung his greeting song and goodbye song "Hey Duso come on out ...we like to listen and talk with you, and we like your songs and stories too...

I've been asking others over the years and haven't found anyone else other than my old classmates who had duso until now. My wife had some puppet visit her class called P. Moony, but I hadn't heard of that one.

Anyway, in hindsight, I guess DUSO had a positive impact on my life here at work. You know, you have to be a "team player" by the way.

FROM: Ryan Unser
DATE: Tuesday May 9, 2006 -- 2:14:36 am
I also, had a Duso flashback upon exiting the shower. I experienced him back in 1st grade (1988) and really enjoyed that Dolphin... It was the song that made me decide to google him.

I'm not a Christian. Duso never made me kill anybody. I am pretty tired right now, but generally I feel like a prett intelligent, level headed individual.

This is such a wacky phenomenon... it's a puppet.

FROM: chris
DATE: Thursday May 18, 2006 -- 10:45:12 pm
i saw the thing about P. Mooney, i had that puppet when i was in school. if anyone has any information about that i would love to get the song for my nephew. thanks.

DATE: Tuesday August 8, 2006 -- 10:42:20 pm
Thank goodness I found this page..... I am so relieved there are sane people left in the world! I was really disturbed by the anti-DUSO rhetoric I found on the Web upon Googling my own flashback. Just when I think I've heard every whacked-out conspiracy theory... LOLL!!!!

Peggy September 11, 2006, 1:48 am

Wow! I’ve been reading these postings in total astonishment that anyone could possibly link this program to brainwashing, think it anti-Christian, evil, etc., etc. I started teaching in 1971 and am now a guidance counselor in an elementary school. I happened to inherit an office with some materials left by a former counselor and just recently looked through them and found the DUSO program. I took it home this weekend to review it and listen to the tapes and read the stories to see if it might be suitable for my counseling groups. I thought it was a fun way to introduce some important concepts to children–like being kind to others, cooperating, making decisions (anything sound remotely satanic so far? I don’t get it! I’d be laughing, but actually I think it pretty sad, really!! I googled in hopes of finding a site to order some missing components of the set. No luck so far–but it was interesting and enlightening (certainly not in the sense of reaching a higher state of consciousness, to be sure) to discover the controversy surrounding these friendly puppets! Now on to continue my search!

anonymous January 12, 2007, 8:49 pm

I was in 1st Grade in ’67. I Remember DUSO the Dolphin! As the writer put it…It was a welcomed break from the same old..same old!

gina February 9, 2007, 5:52 pm

i recently bought duso for myself.i remember in 1st grade the teacher using the puppets to entertain as well as teach us those special values.i think todays schools need this so that kids will not only think of themselves but the consequences of their kids saw the 45’s that came with it and couldnt believe that we actually listened to them..oh the good ole days.

Charlotte, NC December 11, 2007, 10:53 pm


Catherine January 10, 2008, 12:50 am

I was singing the song today and decided to look it up. I don’t remember the other characters, but do remember how happy I felt when the counselor would come to my classroom and use the puppets and tapes.
I taught non-english speakers for a year and would have loved to have had Duso to help them understand some of the concepts that I was teaching.
I am now in HR……and am wondering if it could help here too.

I am a graduate of the Boone Community School District in Boone, IA – class of ’86.

Thank you so much for having this website!

Catherine Reed

JD March 9, 2008, 8:43 pm

I remember. I’m 40. 1st grade seems about right. I also remember S.R.A.’s This was some kind of self guided reading/comprehension tests at the same time.



Craig April 7, 2008, 5:13 pm

I remember DUSO from my early school days in the late 70’s. The guidance counselor would show up once a month or so for a DUSO show. THE CLASS LOVED IT. I don’t remember much, but what I do remember sounds nothing like what the detractors point to as corrupting my young mind. So unless my guidance counselor has planted a “Manchurian Candidate”-esque plot in my brain and it is still waiting to be fulfilled, I give DUSO thumbs up!

Jim W. May 26, 2008, 7:47 pm

I remember Duso as a child in the early 1970’s. The person would come in, put a cassette in the tape player, and start from there. It was fun and I remember it fondly. The song I heard that was played at the start of the performance went like this..I can only remember part of it ‘Hey Duso, come on out, hey Duso, come on out…’ I often wondered if anyone else had heard of Duso.


ed September 29, 2008, 6:33 pm

i’m currently an elem. school counselor who still uses duso & the kids still love “him”. the lessons are still useful even as old as the program is .”old” can still be useful!!!!!!!!!

Linda October 21, 2008, 7:26 pm

Tee-hee!! I’m a school counselor and at the request of some of the other “oldies but goodies” like myself, I revived poor old Duso from his dusty hiding place. The current first graders and kindergarteners love him, and it’s enhanced my popularity in the school. “When are you bringing DUSO to our room?” and “How’s DUSO today?” I think today’s kids are so wrapped up in video games, computer games, and TV that a puppet (although MY Duso thinks he’s real!!!), is a rare treat for kids whose imagination may be squashed, subdued, or non-existent. DUSO is still teaching the same values he always did, and what could we want more in our world–compassion, altruism, taking care of each other and our environment, human kindness. I say “Up with DUSO!” Bring him back out of his hiding places!!

sarah20xoxo January 5, 2009, 12:17 am

omg i remember duso. i just found this page by doing a search for duso. i remember there was a song it was like “hey duso come on out..” unfortunately thats all i remember. and there was the clammy the clam or whatever her name was and other weird characters. our councelor in elementary had the puppets and i liked when she would bring them in but at the same time even in like 2nd grade i thought it was weird haha. making puppets talk to us about our problems ahah. weirdness.

wizzy November 4, 2009, 2:45 pm

I remember Duso, but only “Hey Duso, come on out.” I do not remember my guidance counselor making us do anything weird…all I remember from 1st grade are bits and pieces….getting spanked for staying in the bathroom too long, the special way our teacher whistled to get us off the playground, the brown lockers we had, the green gym walls…the mean teacher’s aide…a few kids…bringing Charms lollipops in to the class for my birthday…but no new age funky stuff…I’m sure that if I can remember these weird tidbits, if Mr. A had told us to do something like the laying on the floor and imagining stuff, I would remember that…

SarahNebraska November 22, 2009, 2:59 am

I had the most wonderful Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Lindenburg and she would tell us stories about Duso the Dolphin. I am twenty-eight years old and i can still remember being very excited for Duso story time. For some weird reason, I though of the dolphin today and then found this page in a random search. Anyone can blame anything for violent actions such as Columbine, but truly how can you fault a character that brings out a child’s imagination while teaching them important life lessons.

KJNYC December 14, 2009, 1:07 am

I’m 35 and grew up in CT. Remember Duso the Dolphin vividly. “Hey Duso, c’mon out, hey Duso c’mon out. We like to listen and talk with you, we like your rhymes and your stories too…” I still sing this 30 years later.

Tiana April 19, 2010, 2:17 am

all i can say is WOW!!!! I certainly can relate with KJNYC! That jingle has been stuck in my mind for 30 years. as a matter of fact it was there tonight and I had to google it because I would like to share with my daughter. I am just blown away at all of the negative and accusing comments about the silly little puppet and never in a million years would have seen Duso as a topic of controversy. It has always been a pleasing memory of my child hood. I mean come on.. with the society we live in and all of the things that people allow their childrent to watch on tv and only God knows what 90% of them read or see on the internet and we are going to blame DUSO for actions like Columbine?? Just another reminder of what a horrible place the world CAN be.

Bryan July 22, 2010, 10:54 pm

I am 36 years old and from Denver Colorado. I too got traning from Duso the dolphin. I was in a special development class becuase I had a hard time reading when I was in 1st grade or 6 years old. How funny, I thought I was looking for a story book character but I do recall the puppet.

Beth Groves August 31, 2010, 8:44 pm

I would like to purchace a complete set of DUSO-1R and DUSO-2R. If anyone knows where I can get these sets please let me know by posting your information on this sight so I can contact you.Thank you

Kate December 21, 2010, 6:07 am

Wow! I’m glad to see someone else remembers this! It was my second grade class that was introduced to DUSO, and I think we all felt it was a little babyish for us. I’m 27 and have harbored an almost 20-year resentment for this stinking dolphin. Babyish though it may have been, I definitely remember actually being interested in and wanting to hear the DUSO stories. I was a painfully shy child with anxiety disorder who uually did not have to pay attention in class because I was beyond the level being taught and was constantly being pulled out of class for “gifted” enrichment – I usually just sat quietly in the back of the classroom during the rest of the school day and read, so it felt hard to act interested in the DUSO stories without the other kids noticing. The problem was that my teacher wouldn’t just leave well enough alone and share the stories. Sitting quietly and attentively wasn’t enough. She insisted we ALL sing along with that theme song and act like we were enjoying ourselves or she would stop class and practically yell at us and even refuse to move on to the actual stories. She just didn’t seem to understand the merciless teasing it felt like we’d have to go through if caught singing enthusiastically to a hand puppet at age 7 or 8. I don’t think she ever asked us to interact with DUSO beyond the initial singing and I’m glad to hear that there was more to it than that.

Jeff July 4, 2013, 10:36 pm

For some reason, I was thinking of Duso the other day so I thought I would run it through a Google search. I am 43 now and remember Duso from my second grade class. I don’t remember the lessons but I sure as heck remember that damn song. I especially remember changing the words to the song, singing it and getting sent to the principal’s office. My version was “Hey Duso, fart on out.”

Kelli July 6, 2013, 2:51 pm

I was in kindergarten in 88 and I loved Duso!!! He caused my most embarrasing school moment. I had to go to the restroom really bad but I wanted to hear the Duso story so bad I waited too long and wet myself. Im not so sure Duso was worth it but I sure did love him at the time!

Guy August 16, 2018, 5:50 am

We had “Duso” also. Sea gate Elementary Naples Florida

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