Health Headlines: Ricochet the surfing therapy dog

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 7:47 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - While there are approximately half-a-million service dogs in the U.S. doing everything from alerting diabetics when their blood sugar is low, helping people in wheelchairs navigate, give cues for those who are hard of hearing, and much more. But there’s only one dog that does what Ricochet does.

“I’m Judy Fridona and this is my dog, Ricochet.”

At just eight weeks old, Judy knew her puppy was something special.

Ricochet could surf, but that’s not all.

“At one point, Ricochet jumped off her board and onto Patrick’s. So, it was really her decision to do that.”

The video of that ride went viral. More than 6.5 million people watched Ricochet help the young quadriplegic ride the waves. She followed that with a ride with Ian.

“He was about five or six and he was in a tragic accident with his parents in a car crash. His parents were killed and he ended up with a brain injury.”

There are others Ricochet has helped, Jose Martinez stepped on an IED while serving in Afghanistan. The two often share a board.

Martinez says, “It changed my perspective and I just kept going and now I’m training to compete to make the USA team.” (:08)

Another was West who is autistic and was afraid of animals.

West’s mom Lauren says, “The first wave that they caught, West stood up and grabbed ahold of her and was just so happy and safe.”

Ricochet was the first certified therapy dog that also does adaptive surfing, a combination that Judy believes heals the soul.

“The ocean is very healing which has already been proven and the healing power of a dog. So, it’s just really a very powerful combination,” says Judy. “There’s always a sense of awe when Ricochet’s surfing with someone.”

Martinez says Ricochet connects those with those who need it most on land and sea, “She even came up to me and actually touched my forehead with her forehead. It was pretty awesome, right before we caught the wave.”

Ricochet is now 14 years old. She, along with her owner, have raised more than $1 million for people with disabilities through her non-profit puppy prodigies.