Helping Others One Wave at a Time
It’s a clear, beautiful San Diego morning, with only a few clouds in the sky. Just a few early surfers populate the beach when Ricochet, the “SURFice” dog, takes to her surfboard and heads out to catch a few waves. According to her pet parent, Judy Fridono, Ricochet is the only SURFice dog® who surfs as an assistive aid with people with disabilities, kids with special needs, wounded warriors and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Judy, who initially worked in health care administration and business development, discovered her passion for training dogs and founded Puppy Prodigies Neonatal and Early Learning Program to train service dogs. Judy had been training Ricochet, a Golden Retriever, to become a service dog, but things didn’t initially go well—Ricochet was too interested in chasing little critters. Meanwhile, Ricochet had been working on her balance by standing on a board in a pool.
A happy coincidence led to the discovery that not only could Ricochet surf on her own, but she enjoyed riding tandem with others. She became Puppy Prodigies’ one and only SURFice dog. (Check out a terrific video of Ricochet’s first tandem ride at www.surfdogricochet.com).
Ricochet’s unique ability has taught Judy a valuable lesson about recognizing the potential in every person (and dog) and allowing an individual to follow their passion.
Ricochet’s life isn’t all work, though. She “relaxes” by surfing for fun, dock jumping, lure coursing, and chasing squirrels and birds! As Judy puts it, “if Ricochet can influence one child, change one mind or save one life, then she will have accomplished what she’s on this earth to do.”
Not only do Judy and Ricochet surf to help others, but they also promote numerous worthy organizations, including Morris Animal Foundation. They also participate in school anti-bullying programs. Ricochet is a certified therapy dog with the American Kennel Club and a certified goal-directed therapy dog with Paws’itive Teams. Judy and Ricochet are also extraordinary fundraisers and have raised over $300,000 for more than 150 organizations that benefit humans and animals.
One of their recent efforts includes promoting Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. Although Ricochet is too old to enroll as a study participant, Judy felt strongly about the goals of the study to advance animal health and wanted to help. She’s contributing Ricochet’s unique talents and her own considerable energy into promoting the project. Ricochet is now a proud Study Ambassador, and Morris Animal Foundation is grateful to have Ricochet and Judy on our team.
To learn more about Morris Animal Foundation and our other programs please visit morrisanimalfoundation.org.