By Judy Fridono
Surf Dog Ricochet was invited to the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge surf dog competition on May 30th, 2014.
The Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge (PPPIDC) produced by Carson Events showcases everyday dogs in Olympic style competition. It’s by invite only, and features dogs from all backgrounds and breeds, competing in agility, disc, racing, diving and surfing events.
The PPPIDC holds a very special place in my heart, and to me, it’s much more than a competition. It was the catalyst that catapulted Ricochet into her life purpose as a SURFice dog®.
Back in June of 2009, I got a last minute call for Ricochet to compete in the first PPIDC surf dog competition. At that time, Ricochet had only been in the ocean surfing about three times. She was still quite a novice grom at 15 months old, but managed to win 3rd place in the large surfing dog category. In fact, she was only one point off from the 2nd place winner. Not bad for her first try amongst the more experienced surf dogs.
The PPIDC invitation came at a pivotal time in her life. It occurred during a period of serious discussions about her future. It was already evident that she wasn't fulfilling the expectations as a service dog due to her interest in chasing critters... and I was disappointed in what she couldn't do, or become. But, when she won third place that day, new thoughts of what she COULD do came to the forefront. Several weeks later, I made the final decision about releasing her from the service dog role. The idea of becoming a SURFice dog® was born that day on the beach during the contest. Talk about new (doggie) doors opening!!
This year, about 11 days prior to the contest, Ricochet ripped her dew claw for the 6th time. The doctor recommended removing them. I guess I didn’t really think about the timeframe, or just how intense the surgery would be, so I agreed. Unfortunately, she’s been having trouble with her right foot, and it’s not healing on schedule. It wasn’t looking good for her to compete, but I was holding out hope.
Then, it hit me. I could be bummed out about this untimely injury & surgery, or I could see it for what it really was. Pretty much everything on Ricochet’s journey has been synchronistic. I remembered the reason Ricochet got into the first PPIDC was because King, another golden retriever had surgery on his toe just before the contest, which created the opportunity for her.
Now, here she was with a toe injury of her own. The thought of us passing the torch to someone else… giving someone else the opportunity we were given 5 years ago… kept entering my mind. I don’t believe in coincidences, and the more I thought about it, the more I knew this happened for a reason. Ricochet has been in several PPPIDC contests since that first one. And this year was an extra special one because her book will be officially launched a couple days after the event. A book that would have never been written if we weren’t given the opportunity by Purina, Carson Events, and Bill and his dog King back then.
The message isn’t that Ricochet was supposed to surf in this contest to celebrate the book. The message is that we are supposed to gift the opportunity forward to celebrate the JOURNEY! It's a lesson in giving and pawing it forward!
So, rather than waiting to see if Ricochet is healed by Friday, I pulled her from the competition today. We are passing the torch to a new surf dog named Turbo from So Cal Surf Dogs. He is a rescue and a golden retriever too. And although he will be taking Ricochet’s place in the contest, we want it to be all about Turbo. We want his owners, Jenna & Gary to enjoy the excitement this opportunity brings without feeling bad that Ricochet is injured. Everything happens for a reason!
I am forever grateful to Purina Pro Plan and Carson Events for recognizing Ricochet over the years. Maybe next year she can come back, but for now, we are content knowing there is something bigger happening than just being laid up from a surgery. It’s the universe’s way of leading us further on her journey and purpose.
Thank you Jenna and Gary for agreeing to let Turbo surf at PPPIDC this year. Thanks to Purina Pro Plan, Carson Events, Bill and King. And thanks to everyone who has supported Ricochet in all she does as a hero dog, therapy dog, surf dog and most importantly, SURFice dog.
We will be rooting for Turbo and hope you will too!
Surf dog Ricochet
Ricochet speaks! A blog from a surf dog's paws'pective!
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