Ricochet is an 11-year-old Golden Retriever who is also a certified therapy dog. But that’s not just what makes her special because she also doubles as a surfing instructor for veterans and people with disabilities.
Watch this amazing dog below.
Video credit: Rumble
Ricochet’s owner, Judy Fridono, founded Puppy Prodigies as a non-profit organization in 2006. Based out of San Diego, California, Ricochet works with the 61-year-old Judy to offer canine-assisted programs that include learning how to surf.
Judy said: “Ricochet is the first-ever canine-assisted surf therapy and adaptive surfing Dog.
“The kids and adults who ride with her actually use her as a tool.
“They can hold onto her back end in an effort to stand up. She adjusts her surfing style based on their disability.”
Ricochet became a therapy dog in 2009 but also discovered her love of surfing that year when she suddenly jumped onto the surfboard of a quadriplegic 14-year-old boy. Ever since that time, Ricochet has worked with people with disabilities, wounded warriors, kids with special needs, and veterans with PTSD.
Judy’s program also encourages active-duty or former service personnel to participate as mentors in the program as well.
Judy said: “The objective of our ‘Waves of Empowerment’ program is to empower and enrich the well-being of veterans and civilians of all abilities and backgrounds, taking them from the battleground to the playground.
“We foster relationships and life experiences utilizing canine counter-parts in a non-judgmental environment.
“Opportunities are provided that enable veterans to continue their life of service and find a new purpose by engaging in community service while mentoring and inspiring future generations.
“It’s a unique initiative that empowers those who have separated from the military or are in the process of transitioning out of combat situations and back into civilian life.
“Each veteran becomes a mentor and is paired one-on-one with a child who has special needs for a day of paws-on healing through canine-assisted surf therapy and adaptive surfing.”
For Judy, the best way to help those in need is by working with dogs.
Judy said: “Studies have shown that dogs offer emotional and physical benefits to humans.
“Just making eye contact with a dog can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone, oxytocin.
“As such, our pups have a positive influence and calming effect on the individuals they interact with. The interaction between them quickly fosters trust and acceptance.
“What makes Ricochet extraordinary is her powerful ability to make immediate, deep, heart-to-heart connections with the individuals she interacts with.
“Most people are drawn to Ricochet. She makes deep connections so people usually stay with her for a while.
“She intuitively and emphatically alerts to their emotional and physical changes which allow for profound paws-on healing interventions. I feel Ricochet is a gift, and gifts are meant to be given.”
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