Surf Dog Ricochet is one of the animals featured in the children’s book High Paw, Super Sebastian! The story follows the journey of a foster puppy as he moves from home to home. The characters in the book are based on real animals.
“When I’m feeling scared,” said Ricochet, “I get on my surfboard. Facing the big waves helps me feel brave and empowered.”
Ricochet takes her role as a therapy dog to the next level — quite literally. When she braves the waves with her unique brand of surf dog therapy, she allows people to feel as if they’re on top of the world.
Ricochet is a Golden Retriever and the first-ever dog to surf with kids and veterans as a form of surf therapy, assistance, healing, and empowerment. She pioneered the concept of dogs surfing with kids, when in 2009, she made an independent decision to jump on a surfboard with a boy who was quadriplegic. She clearly showed the world what her life’s purpose was and embraced it with all four paws!
12 years later and she’s become world famous. With numerous awards under her collar, such as the ASPCA Dog of the Year and the AKC Award for Canine Excellence, Ricochet has reached a level of mastery for her surfing and healing capabilities. She even recently made it all the way to Hollywood with her spotlight in the Superpower Dogs documentary, available to watch on Hulu.
Ricochet’s Healing Power of Surf Dog Therapy
Although surfing has been at the forefront of her work, it’s not just the act of surfing that makes Ricochet’s interactions so life changing. It’s her compelling, one-of-a-kind ability to make immediate, heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul connections with strangers both in and out of the water. When she meets a person it’s like they’re a book and she reads the whole book in a matter of seconds. She intuitively and empathically attunes to their emotional and physical changes, which allows for profound paws-on healing interventions. She balances boards, and lives!
Ricochet has surfed with hundreds of kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors and veterans with PTSD. She instinctively counter-balances the board and adapts her surfing style based on each individual’s disability — healing hearts and souls on every wave.
Riding the Waves of COVID-19
Ricochet usually offers her paws-on healing through canine-assisted surfing, paddling, swimming, playing, therapy, and other programs. Due to recent COVID-19 social distancing measures, Ricochet has adapted how she provides her therapeutic services. Although, not to worry — Ricochet is used to riding the waves and she’s getting through the pandemic just like any other challenge.
Her services have mostly switched from in-person sessions to virtual canine therapy and video conferencing. Ricochet and her guardian Judy Fridono are focusing on supporting doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals and first responders in an effort to reduce anxiety and the risk of suicide. Ricochet is also providing comfort and healing to families who experienced the unfathomable reality of not being there when a loved one passed from COVID-19, as well as essential workers, seniors in nursing homes and school children affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Fridono explains, “At a time when dogs could be truly valuable resources, we’re thinking outside the box in an effort to offer some form of canine therapy to the millions of people around the world who need it.”
As things transition, Ricochet is also offering 1-on-1 visits and house calls as part of a curbside comfort program. As always, safety and well-being are at the forefront. The program was established with safety protocols as the number one priority for Ricochet, her handler, and everyone she interacts with. People and Ricochet, too, can receive some much-needed affection during this time of social distancing.
Everyone’s Best Friend
Ricochet is a shining example that dogs really are humankind’s best friend. She has raised over $600 000 for human and animal causes and touches the lives of everyone she meets. She has improved the quality of life for so many individuals with physical, cognitive, or emotional disabilities, and she’s still got a whole lot more love to give!
With her feature in the upcoming children’s book High Paw, Super Sebastian, Ricochet will extend her healing powers to support children in foster care. Her section of the children’s book deals with helping kids (and adults!) process the emotion of fear. Through her example, children will learn how to not only brave the waves but also how to courageously face the many difficulties they encounter in life. Her message in the book is ultimately about empowerment and how to be your best self.
Ricochet is certainly busy being her best self and living her best possible life!
To learn more about Ricochet and her team, visit surfdogricochet.com
You can also follow Ricochet on social media at @surfdogricochet