Ricochet the surfing therapy dog is helping children with severe debilitating conditions
Ricochet, a registered and certified goal-directed therapy dog, surf with children with special needs to heal their hearts and souls.
The golden retriever also took on a mission to surf with people with disabilities, wounded warriors, and veterans with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Ricochet began to surf with a purpose when she surprisingly jumped on a surfboard with a boy who is quadriplegic in 2009.
Ricochet’s owner, Judy Fridono, told The Surf Channel: “There is something special about her. I always say she is an ordinary dog with an extraordinary spirit.”
On August 3, 2018, Ricochet once again brought happiness to many kids with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) at the 4th annual “Surf Away SMA With Ricochet” event held in San Diego
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SMA is a genetic disease that affects the part of the nervous system which controls voluntary muscle movement.
Children who suffer this disease can't hold the head up, stand, sit, crawl, walk, swallow food effectively, or breathe.
Though there is no cure yet for SMA, treatments and therapies are available to help improve an affected individual’s quality of life.
Because one available therapy is surf therapy, here's where Ricochet comes in.
The kids were put on a bath chair that was attached to a surfboard during the “Surf Away SMA With Ricochet” event.
They then ventured out into the surf with the assistance of Ricochet and the team of skilled volunteers.
Under the watchful eyes of a skilled surfer, and Ricochet herself, those with more mobility were allowed to ride on a wave without the chair.
Children with SMA earned a sense of worth through the surf therapy.
“The ocean has a healing element, so just being in the water and being on a surfboard allows people with disabilities to feel a sense of freedom,” said Fridono.
“The emotion I see most is pure joy.”
Ricochet has been featured in countless articles. Her fame helps to raise awareness for numerous different causes.
Ricochet has won several awards such as the ASPCA Dog of the Year, The American Humane Association Hero Dog Award and the AKC Award for Canine Excellence.
She has also been inducted into two surf dog halls of fame, and one animal hall of fame.
Ricochet is not the only dog who can rip some waves. On August 4, 2018, about 45 surfer dogs battled to take home the medal at the third World Dog Surfing Championships.
The annual event organizes several categories for the dogs. One category has the dog surfing alone, and another one with their owner or with a fellow dog surfer.