Surf Dog Ricochet has charted her own course of Canine Assisted Surf Therapy in San Diego, California.
In this 71st episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with Judy Fridono and her remarkable 15-year-old Golden Retriever, Ricochet, famously known as Surf Dog Ricochet. Together, they form an incredible Canine Assisted Surf Therapy team in San Diego, California. We discuss how Ricochet transitioned from a Service Dog prospect to a therapy dog, and how they got started in Canine Assisted Surf Therapy, helping people from adaptive surfers to volunteering through Pawsitive Teams and are certified through Alliance of Therapy Dogs to help veterans living with PTSD.
Update: A little over a month after we recorded this episode, Ricochet crossed over the rainbow bridge on March 30, 2023. My heart goes out to Judy and all who loved and were touched by Ricochet’s amazing spirit and work.
Throughout our conversation, we dive into Ricochet’s intuition and ability to connect with people on a deep emotional level, partnering with therapists in Animal Assisted Therapy to help veterans with PTSD and others in need. Judy shares her experiences volunteering with Ricochet at the Naval Hospital in San Diego, working with the service members in the Wounded Warrior Battalion. We also learn about the importance of understanding a dog’s environment and purposeful communication, as well as the challenges and joys of working with therapy dogs.
By the end of this episode, you’ll gain valuable insights into the world of therapy dog work, the impact of Canine Assisted Surf Therapy, and the inspiring journey of Judy Fridono and Surf Dog Ricochet.
In this episode, we discuss …
- Why Ricochet was career changed from Judy’s initial intentions for her as a Service Dog.
- What Canine Assisted Surf Therapy looks like and how they got started.
- How Ricochet helps veterans with PTSD.
Key moments you won’t want to miss:
Note that the timecodes match the video, not the podcast.
- [01:14] Judy introduces her nonprofit, Puppy Prodigies, and tells us about her amazing Golden Retriever, Ricochet.
- [01:53] Judy shares how she used to do therapy work with a cat, and how Ricochet first started Canine Assisted Surf Therapy, helping people from adaptive surfers to those who are neurodivergent.
- [03:56] We learn how Judy taught Ricochet to surf in a kiddie pool on a boogie board, which eventually led to her competing in the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge at just 15 months old!
- [04:54] Judy tells us about her six-year-old Golden Labrador mix, Cori, who used to help others through Canine Assisted Swimming pre-COVID, working with kids with special needs or disabilities.
- [05:36] Judy explains how Ricochet’s intuition helps her understand how a person feels, which is crucial in their therapy work.
- [06:32] We hear about a veteran named Griff who Ricochet worked with, and their story was even featured in the IMAX movie Superpower Dogs.
- [07:50] Judy reflects on Ricochet’s retirement from surfing and how she still volunteers for Animal Assisted Therapy through Pawsitive Teams, supporting competitive adaptive surfers.
- [08:51] Judy shares her experience volunteering with Ricochet at the Naval Hospital in San Diego and how they interact with the service members in the Wounded Warrior Battalion.
- [10:14] Judy talks about working with Ricochet, how she learns something new almost every time they work together, and the importance of understanding a dog’s environment and purposeful communication.
- [14:47] Judy shares an example of a veteran whose service dog exhibited intelligent disobedience to better cope with his environment.
I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I do. Give it a watch or a listen and then let me know in the community which part you found the most helpful!
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