Ricochet, the amazing therapy dog who loves to surf

Surf’s up for a very special Golden Retriever named Ricochet.

Born and bred to be a service dog helping people with physical challenges, Ricochet’s training began at birth. Before she could even open her eyes, she was learning to be touched, petted, and rewarded with yummy treats. Trainers taught her how to do special tasks, like opening cabinets and flipping light switches. She even learned to help with laundry, something the rest of us don’t quite master until we’re in college.

Ricochet had all the mad skills she needed to be a service dog, but she also had one big (feathered) weakness. Birds. She liked to chase them, which is totally understandable. Golden Retrievers are bird dogs, after all. Unfortunately, this could be dangerous for a differently-abled person to deal with. So Ricochet was released from the service dog program. Read: Fired. (All the sad face emojis!)

Lucky for Ricochet, she had a truly amazing pet-parent. Judy Fridono wasn’t about to let all that remarkable training go to waste, so she worked with Ricochet on something the dog really seemed to enjoy. Surfing. That’s right, Judy helped Ricochet become the world’s first SURFice dog. (Which, we have to admit, sounds even more rad than being a service dog.)

Now seven years old, Ricochet spends her days inspiring and helping people heal who are dealing with challenges like lost limbs, autism and other physical differences. She also works with wounded warriors and veterans suffering from PTSD.

Judy says Ricochet is a different dog when she surfs, completely, and totally full of joy. And we have to say, it looks like her companions get a big kick out of it, too . . .

When it comes to surfing, Ricochet’s intuitive skills are almost beyond belief. She instinctively knows how to help balance the surfboard and help first-time surfers feel safe. In addition to providing unconditional love, encouragement and support, Ricochet also surfs to raise money for charitable causes. So far, her fundraising efforts have taken in over $400,000 to help pay for things like physical and emotional therapy for children and adults dealing with traumatic injuries, service dogs for veterans, canine cancer research . . . the list goes on and on.

We can’t help but get a little teary-eyed thinking of how Judy and Ricochet have turned what at first felt like a failure into a lifetime of love and compassion that is making a huge difference in the lives of remarkable people every day.

To learn more about Ricochet, visit her website, Facebook or Instagram pages. Or check out the video below, which tells her story.

Spoiler alert: It has a very happy ending.

Related reading:

Loving the story of Smiley, the blind therapy dog

The most surprising (and adorbs) animal friendship on Instagram

[All images used with permission from Ricochet’s Facebook page]