Most people who have interacted with dogs for any length of time know that they are truly amazing creatures. Dogs are fun, helpful, and even therapeutic – true heroes. This applies to dogs in our very own homes as they interact with us, their humans, it is also remarkably true of dogs that “work” for a living, and it is magically true of dogs who have the talent and means provided by their owners to become therapy dogs.
Ricochet, a 6-year-old Golden Retriever, is one such dog who, supported by her owner, is a rising star making a memorable difference in the world by offering a unique form of therapy through surfing. Her mom, Judy Fridono, says Ricochet “balances boards and she balances lives” by surfing with kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors and veterans with PTSD. Ricochet also assists and interacts with people in need outside the water, providing love and emotional support, but her surfing has gained her notoriety and enabled her to raise awareness and funds for human and animal causes totaling almost $400,000 to date.
Ricochet’s YouTube video documenting how the career-change service dog found her way to the surfing sensation therapy dog who raised over $10,000 and 3 years of physical therapy in her first fundraiser in 2009 for 15-year-old quadriplegic surfer Patrick Ivison has gone viral with 4.4 million views.
Of course, it takes a special dog to connect so deeply with humans, to be an AKC therapy dog, an American Humane Association hero dog, an ASPCA dog of the year, and a wicked surfer, but it also takes a special human to train and promote such talent.
Judy Fridono faced a huge disappointment when she realized that Ricochet’s love of chasing birds would prevent her from being the service dog Judy had been training her to be. That could have been the end of the story. Instead, Fridono nurtured the unique emerging talent she saw in Ricochet, cultivating the remarkable surfing K9 therapist and media sensation Ricochet is today.
Ricochet has been featured in magazines, newspapers, TV, movies, commercials, her own book, a soon-to-be-made Imax film about super dogs, Twitter, Instagram, and she has over 246K fans on Facebook today. Just check out her webpage! Hopefully this is just the beginning as Ricochet the surfing dog gets even more attention when more people watch her videos and learn how they can support worthy causes she (and her mom) champion.
Imagine the good Ricochet could have done as a service dog, loving and assisting her human – truly that loss was a tragedy. Given the opportunity and support to follow another path, however, Ricochet is now larger than life and part of an even bigger plan. Kudos to Judy Fridono!