From Service Dog to Surfice Dog
When a puppy who was originally slated to be a service dog showed disinterest in her planned career, her guardian saw her potential and allowed her to help people in a more unconventional way.
Ricochet, who is now 10, was born into the nonprofit organization Puppy Prodigies. “She was slated to be a service dog and she was a brilliant puppy, but at 16 weeks of age, she shut down and started walking away from training sessions,” explained her guardian, Judy Fridono.
The young dog’s disinterest in her training sessions, paired with her predilection for chasing small critters, showed Judy that Ricochet was seeking a different vocation. “She has an incredible healing ability and does a lot of paws-on healing, though,” Judy said.
When she was only eight weeks old, Ricochet had a chance to go into a kiddie pool. “There was a boogie board in it, so I invited her onto it,” Judy recalled. “She climbed on and had really good balance. From there, I started taking her into our large pool, then the bay, and then the ocean.”
Judy initially had Ricochet play with the boogie board in addition to her service dog training, but Ricochet didn’t show enthusiasm for either of these vocations. Ricochet was released from her service dog role when she was 15 months old because of her chase drive, but Judy still saw great promise in her young dog.
“I still wanted her to make a difference in the world, too, so I thought she could do a fundraiser for a 14-year-old boy named Patrick who was run over by a car when he was a toddler,” Judy recalled. “He has a C4-5 spinal cord injury and needs a wheelchair. Since Ricochet surfed, and Patrick did adaptive surfing, I thought he’d be a good beneficiary for her first fundraiser. He was going to therapy three times a week, and it cost about $90,000 a year. He was also in the process of getting a service dog. I thought they could both surf on the same wave, on their own boards.”
Ricochet had a different idea.
After surfing on her own board next to Patrick several times, Ricochet jumped off of her board and onto Patrick’s. “It was her decision to surf with people with disabilities,” Judy said. “I honored what she wanted to do, especially after I saw how alive she became doing it. She has been surfing with people who are disabled ever since.” Ricochet didn’t want to be a traditional service dog, but she has thrived as a surf-ice dog.
Ricochet’s popularity began with a video showing how this happy pup could hang twenty. “The video went viral,” Judy said, “and she now raises funds and awareness for both human and animal causes. This past New Year’s Eve, she hit the half-million dollar mark in fundraising.” Ricochet has also helped provide more than one million bowls of food for homeless animals.
“Ricochet has been able to change and save lives with her paws-on healing, especially with veterans with PTSD and kids with autism,” Judy said. “She has a power that scientists can’t explain to me. So, I stopped trying to understand it, and just keep sharing her with the world.”
She added: “Ricochet is a gift and sharing her with the world is my main priority,” Judy said. “I’m also really thrilled with her new program, Waves of Empowerment, because it’s so unique, powerful and healing.” (Read more here).
Thank you, Ricochet and Judy, for being heroes for the animals and for the people who love them.
To learn more about Ricochet, visit her website at surfdogricochet.com.