Surf dog Ricochet, the SURFice dog® is usually pitched into waves with disabled surfers, but last Friday she found herself in a much different pitching environment. She, and her disabled surfing partners, Patrick Ivison and Ian McFarland threw out the first ceremonial pitches at the Padres game against the Chicago Cubs. Ricochet dedicated her first pitch to Chris Lane, the Australian college baseball player who was tragically shot to death in Oklahoma last week by three “bored” teenage boys.
The Padres honored this surfing trio as the ceremonial first pitch coincided with Ricochet’s $300,000th dollar raised for human/animal causes.
It was also the 4th anniversary of the first time Ricochet jumped on a surfboard with Patrick and made history. She’s the only dog in the world who surfs with kids with special needs, people with disabilities and wounded warriors as an assistive aid and SURFice dog®.
The plan was for both boys to throw their pitch to the catchers while Ricochet ran to home plate. This action was to symbolize her efforts in raising awareness to strike out violence on behalf of Chris Lane.
But, in pure Ricochet fashion, she had other plans. As soon as catcher, René Rivera squatted down to prepare for Patrick’s pitch, Ricochet tenderly sauntered to his arms where he responded by holding out his hand, and giving her an affectionate pat. Was this a spontaneous behavior on Ricochet’s part? Or did she know Chris Lane was on a baseball scholarship at East Central University where he was the team’s CATCHER!?
“Ricochet is a very intuitive dog, and marches to the beat of her own drum. So, I wasn’t surprised when she did her own thing. But, when I found out that Chris was a catcher for his college team, I knew her message was much more meaningful than just exchanging a quick greeting with Mr. Rivera” Judy Fridono, Ricochet’s guardian said.
Either way, her message of unconditional love and peace resonated with the crowd. She also advocates for pawing it forward, anti-bullying and getting kids involved in volunteer opportunities.
Patrick suffered a C4/5 spinal cord injury as a result of an un-insured driver backing a car over him, when he was a child. Patrick was diagnosed quadriplegic, and has used a wheelchair ever since, but is able to surf with Ricochet using an adaptive surfboard.
Ian suffered a traumatic brain injury in a horrific car crash that claimed the lives of his parents in 2008. He used to surf with his daddy, but became afraid of the water after the injury. Ricochet helped him replace his fear with excitement when she surfed with him several years ago.
We are grateful to the Padres for recognizing Ricochet, Patrick and Ian with this ceremonial first pitch. It has given Ricochet another opportunity to raise awareness, and encourage kids to partake in random acts of kindness instead of random acts of violence.
Here's the video...
Surf dog Ricochet
Ricochet speaks! A blog from a surf dog's paws'pective!
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