the number of drowning deaths among kids with autism and other disabilities.
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Surf Dog Ricochet recently acquired a new Labrador retriever puppy named Cori. The first time Cori encountered a swimming pool, she was 16 weeks old and terrified. It took time, patience and baby steps, but her fear transcended into a life-saving initiative.
She started showing an instinct for water rescue when she was 9 months old. She is very focused and attentive when kids are in the water, and has a natural tendency to jump in when she hears splashing.
Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4. However, the danger of drowning is much higher for children with special needs, specifically those with autism.
Like her predecessor, Ricochet, she has chosen her own life purpose… canine-assisted swimming for kids with special needs.
She works with organizations that teach kids with special needs to swim. Cori is an added benefit to their program and provides assistance like only a dog can!
Cori is able to break down barriers often experienced between swim instructors and students.
Some kids have refused to get in the pool with an instructor, but they willingly get in with Cori.
Because Cori had a fear of water herself, she’s able to motivate kids to get over their fear too… “if Cori did it, so can I”.
Parents who have been taking their kids to swim lessons for years are thrilled to see improvement after just one session with Cori.
Kids become more inclined to try things when they know Cori will keep them safe.
Cori wears a special lifejacket made for water rescue. There are two handles on the back where the child can hold onto while practicing their kicking, etc.
Because Cori’s lifejacket has multiple handles, she can tow more than one child at a time, making it a fun experience for siblings too.
Various buoys are used as Cori tows kids to the steps
Kids are able to reach their full potential through fun, sensory based exercises that are geared to reduce fear and apprehension while improving confidence, social interaction, life-saving skills and more
Cori's physical presence and interaction in the water also reduces anxiety.
Her innate concern and focused attention for kids in the water gives them a sense of added safety.
To get kids closer to the pool and ease their trepidation, they are encouraged to throw balls or toys for Cori to retrieve.
The kids are also urged to sit on the side of the pool with Cori, dipping their toes in the water to get acclimated.
It’s also easier for Cori to get a child to wear goggles!
And, kids are more willing to wear a life jacket when they know Cori does too.
Canine-assisted swim lessons always include human-canine bonding between Cori and the child to build rapport and trust.
Fear is replaced with excitement as kids come up with ideas for towing!
Before you know it, the child is laughing, having fun, and learning to swim!
Cori also participates in beach events as some kids have more fear in the ocean.
Kids love when Cori tows them to shore
She also does mock water rescues with the kids
A credentialed swim instructor is always leading the activities
Cori’s canine-assisted swimming is part of Ricochet’s Waves of Empowerment program so beach activities also include surfing with Ricochet, mock water rescue, towing, safety awareness, water games, retrieval exercises and more.
They focus on safety as well as building a child’s confidence, increasing self-esteem, and creating a lifelong love of the water. Kids learn through play and each class is tailored to the child's needs and goals.
91 percent of all wandering-related deaths among autistic children are due to accidental drowning. Because of these statistics, Cori also raises awareness of water safety and drowning prevention. Please help her reduce these numbers by sharing this info… and help save a life.
If you would like Cori and/or Ricochet to participate in your swim lessons or beach activities, or you'd like to have your kids part of canine-assisted swimming, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, go to http://www.surfdogricochet.com/canine-assisted-swimming.html
Hi res photos & video clips available upon request
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, please click the donate button below. Your donation will help cover the costs of equipment, pool/site rental fees, insurance, program management, etc. But, most importantly, your donation could save a life! Thanks for your support.
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