By Jo Singer
While I am totally aware the PoC website is devoted primarily to our beloved cats; featuring stories and information pertaining to the feline species, just in case some of our readers might consider this piece to be a major transgression, please forgive me for offering a blog about Ricochet, one of my favorite canines. She has touched my heart deeply with the healing work in which she has been involved for many years.
I first learned about Ricochet, the amazing SURFice dog a long time ago. The work she was doing with people with disabilities and kids with special needs had transformed the lives of so many that I just had to learn more about her. I gathered my courage and reached out to Judy Fridono, Ricochet’s “partner”.
Since canines have not yet mastered “human speak”, Judy graciously accepted my phone call. During our call Judy made it apparently clear that while she “drives the car”, Ricochet is the navigator. And as we spoke I actually could feel Ricochet’s healing energy coming through loud and clear; energy which Ricochet gives unconditionally to anyone who needs it.
From the moment she was born, this magnificent Golden retriever knew what her life’s mission would be. While Judy was training her to be a service dog, Ricochet preferred chasing birds and squirrels. Judy said, “We couldn’t take the risk that she might take off after a squirrel while she was with a person with a disability”. Judy then released Ricochet from the program so that she could be just who she is- allowing the high spirited canine to blossom in amazing ways.
Today, in addition to helping kids to love themselves, Ricochet has connected with folk in the military who are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the military, a Battle Buddy is a soldier’s battlefield partner; accomplishing a common mission together. Always ready to assist one another, the Battle Buddy relationship is one that is crucial.
Surf dog Ricochet’s battle buddy is Staff Sergeant Randy Dexter. Together, they have a mission to raise awareness, remove the stigma and provide help to those suffering with PTSD. Disorder, Traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) and combat issues.
This past New Year’s Eve, Surf Dog Ricochet, the SURFice™ Dog celebrated with a special ocean therapy tandem surf session for members of our military and people/kids with disabilities. Ricochet is the only dog in the world that surfs as an assistive aid and SURFice dog™ to those with physical, emotional and psychiatric challenges including kids with special needs, autism, adults with disabilities, wounded warriors and veterans with PTSD.
Ricochet surfed with retired Sergeant Dexter, who served two tours in Iraq and now suffers with PTSD. Dexter said, “Richochet has given me a new lease of life. PTSD make it very difficult to go out, but now that I’ve met Ricochet I get to enjoy the things I used to love. To me she’s a guardian angel.”
Sadly, every 65 minutes a veteran with PTSD commits suicide. Ricochet and Dexter have created the PTSD Battle Buddy Initiative to help other active duty service members and veterans with PTSD. Ricochet and Dexter are committed to changing that alarming statistic through their efforts at Surfdogrichochet PTSD Battle Initiative.
“When you put the healing power of the ocean and the healing power of a dog together, you can’t match it!”
Since it’s impossible to resist falling in love with Ricochet and to appreciate the SURFice she so unconditionally offers I very much would like to introduce this remarkable canine to our readers. Please take a moment to watch the touching video uploaded to YouTube by Surf dog Ricochet.
P.S. Judy says that Ricochet adores kitties so she was truly honored to share information about herself on a cat website… 🙂