So you’ve learned how to surf and you’re feeling pretty cool about it? Good! Now imagine trying to surf without using arms or legs but with a… tail! Ricochet is a, now retired, world-famous surf dog. Not only has Ricochet mastered the art of solo surfing but she can surf tandem (she has even surfed with a goat)! Ricochet has made headlines the world over for her surfing feats, even inspiring other dog owners as far as South Africa to teach their dogs to surf.
As if it weren’t enough that Ricochet is an actual SURFING DOG, she’s decided to use her skills for the benefit of the disabled. Ricochet’s owner claims that she, the dog, was the first one to actually make the leap onto a disabled child’s surfboard and start her career as the first ever SURFice dog. According to the story, Ricochet was surfing next to a young disabled boy when she decided, of her own free will, to get a lot closer to her companion and surf on the same board with him! From then on she’s surfed almost exclusively with those in need. Ricochet is actually trained and certified to provide therapeutic assistance to disabled people who are learning to surf. Learning to trust yourself in the water and ride the waves can be terrifying, but imagine the comfort of having a four-legged friend right by your side.
Ricochet began her career by surfing tandem with a young quadriplegic boy. Once that got the attention of her trainers, her skills were further developed and her ability to act as a therapy surf dog became more varied and valuable. Before her retirement, Ricochet surfed with people with PTSD, Autism, Paralysis, and even with disabled veterans! She is skilled at mirroring and alerting. When she is mirroring she reflects back a person’s emotions in her own body language and actions. When employing this technique, Ricochet is able to help a sufferer reconnect with a sense of inner-calm and to self-diagnose when they may be too overwhelmed or absorbed in a distracting emotion. When alerting, Ricochet acknowledges a person in distress and alerts others of their situation by planting her feet and refusing to move anywhere. This is easily noticeable and helps protect those with a risk of sudden attacks.
Throughout her career, Ricochet competed in dozens of international surf competitions. By working in conjunction with a number of charity organizations, she has also raised over half a million dollars to support the causes of both humans and animals. At only nine years old, how many of us can say that we’ve achieved anything close to how much Ricochet has.
Ricochet has her own website. You can learn more about her and her programs here: http://www.surfdogricochet.com/