I'm sharing this experience with you because it's one of incredible positive energy... more powerful than anything I've ever experienced. Although it starts with a near tragedy, it unfolds to a sort of divine intervention. I share this with anyone who doubts goodness in the world. To those who question fate, guardian angels, inter-connectedness, God, higher powers, Synchronicity, the power of the universe, animal angels, Rainbow Bridge, or any other belief. To those who bear witness to the horrors of war, animal abuse, or the myriad of negative things in the world. To those who have lost hope... this is for you.
On, Sunday July 24th, 2011, I thought Ricochet's life was coming to a screeching halt as I saw in horror, the tire of a white Yukon SUV just about to hit her. Her neck was crooked backwards, her eyes wide with fear, as she faced this huge white monster that was about to crush her. My screams competed with the sound of traffic traveling 55 miles an hour in the four lanes of traffic on Pacific Coast Highway. The passenger of the car screamed too, "Oh my God, a dog!" With mere inches between Ricochet and the rolling tire, she ducked her shoulder, and dodged the vehicle while the SUV simultaneously slammed on the brakes, IT coming to a screeching halt instead of Ricochet's life.
She disappeared behind another vehicle as I frantically opened my car door to get out. My friend Bill ran into the highway, holding his hands up to stop traffic. By the time I was outside my car, Bill was holding her in the middle of the road. It had only been seconds, but felt like an agonizing lifetime. I called out her name, and her eyes turned from fear to relief as she saw me. Bill opened his arms, and she ran to me. I clutched her tighter than ever before as tears streamed down my face, as I said over and over again "She almost got hit by a car". Earlier that day, I drove to Huntington Beach Dog Beach for an informal surf dog contest with some of the Socal Surf Dogs. I had both Rina and Ricochet with me. My friend Dave, who handles Ricochet in the water, and his son, Austin met us there. It was about 12:30pm, as I approached the parking lot, which was full, and had about 15 cars waiting along the side of Pacific Coast Highway to get in. As I pulled behind the last car, Dave was standing on the sidewalk, and asked if I'd like him to take Rina & Ricochet down to the beach. I replied that Rina won't go without me, and Ricochet probably won't either, but you can try.
I put Ricochet's collar & leash on, and she enthusiastically got out of the car and followed Dave & Austin down to the beach, which was quite a distance from where we were. Once on the beach, Dave took her leash off so she could run with the other dogs. But instead, she ran back up the long ramp leading to the sidewalk. He was able to wrangle her back, and put her leash on while saying to himself "I'm not taking her leash off THIS time!" But, that didn't stop a determined Ricochet, who wanted to find her missing mom and sister, Rina. She pulled out from her collar, and bolted back up the ramp, past the bluffs, past the sidewalk, and into Pacific Coast Highway.
My friend Bill was in the car in front of me, and had gotten out to chat with me while we waited in the long line of cars. All of a sudden, we saw Ricochet dart into the highway. A car closest to the sidewalk beeped and slammed on it's brakes, but Ricochet kept running, zig zagging with no destination in mind, just knowing she had to find Rina and I.
I felt like I let her down, and agonized over how she was feeling in her desperation to find me. I struggled with guilt, and the "what ifs". I don't believe in coincidence, I believe everything happens for a reason. And, then it hit me... a higher power had this all under control.
I found solace in knowing there were guardian angels at work, stopping the car, and giving her the quick reflex she needed to dodge the SUV. I felt she was spared to continue helping others. Her work is not finished. I was now grateful she was a submissive dog that used submissive body language as a way to escape the vehicle. It was another trait I didn't like about her because she is often bullied by other dogs. But the very submissiveness I disliked... saved her life. Another lesson in acceptance!
I thought the story was over, and I was just left with the horrific image of her almost getting hit playing over and over in my mind, and to obviously be more careful.
But, the story doesn't end there. It continues as an incredibly powerful phenomenon that I cannot name because it doesn't belong to only me. It's different for everyone. All I can do is share the story with you, and allow you to interpret it, name it, utilize it, and ponder it for yourself. Like Ricochet's SURFice dog® video, use it for what YOU need it for. Share it with others who need reassurance and hope.
When I returned home that evening, I posted the incident to Ricochet's Facebook page, describing how I felt guardian angels were hard at work protecting her. Of course the post received a lot of comments due to it's nature. But, the following afternoon, there was a post on Ricochet's page from someone named Teri, that said...
"We were there - Ricochet ran in front of the car next to us and almost into our tire. But she zigged and zagged and went behind our car. I did not know who the little dog was at the time - but she looked so scared. I prayed she would be ok and so happy to know she is!" I commented on the post, asking Teri to send me an email. Because my memory was thwarted by the trauma, I wasn't able to process everything, and wanted to hear what she saw.
We exchanged several emails before I realized SHE was a passenger in the white SUV that almost hit Ricochet!
She described it as "There was a large vehicle, dark in color driving in the lane closest to the beach, and slightly ahead of us in the lane near the center divide. They laid on their horn and slammed on the brakes. Out the corner of my eye I saw a dog, she was running in front of the car next to us. She was just at their bumper, but didn't get hit, but was very close to the vehicle. We moved a little ahead of the car next to us now, because they slammed on their brakes. At that moment, I saw her running, and it looked like she was going to go right under our front tire. If she escaped the front tire, then the back tire would hit her for sure. It appeared that she was going to go under our car. I closed my eyes, and braced for a thump, but Thank God!! No thump! What a wonderful silence."
"I looked out and back and saw the dog run behind our car and it appeared that she continued across PCH to the east side of the street. Cars were moving very slowly in the northbound lanes, and as we drove south it appeared she made it. There were so many people and dogs on the sidewalk I knew somebody would grab her. I am so very happy Ricochet is ok. And I know our angel was with us too, keeping Ricochet from our tires, because that would have been too terrible to bear."
Hearing that Teri was in the vehicle definitely gave me goosebumps, and a lump in my throat, but there is more!
Teri and Danny had other plans on Sunday, but at the last minute they fell through. They discussed options of where to go with their two golden retrievers, Maggie and Molly. Huntington Dog Beach was 4th or 5th on their list. During their discussion, Ricochet's SURFice dog® video popped into Teri's mind out of nowhere. She told Danny, "I want you to watch this". As they viewed the video, It brought tears to both their eyes. Little did they know at the time their path would be crossing with Ricochet in the most frightening way.
When Teri got home Sunday evening, she still didn't know the dog in the highway was Ricochet. But, then she signed onto Facebook, and saw my post in her news feed about Ricochet's near tragic plight with a car. Her jaw dropped. She now realized the little dog running in the highway was the same dog in the video!
Teri had only joined Ricochet's Facebook page a week prior, so she hadn't engaged in conversations yet. She was stunned by what she was reading, and immediately posted to Ricochet's page. An instant bond was formed between the two of us! We both were witness to what could have been a tragedy, but was tempered by our individual guardian angels working together. We shared a celestial connection! Another connection came into play as well. The way Teri got to Ricochet's page in the first place. She was referred by Dog Bless You, a page/organization that Ricochet helped a couple months ago during one of their campaigns to match service dogs and war veterans with PTSD. They also awarded a $5000 grant to Ricochet's work which she used to help 20 different causes/rescues. Were guardian angels already preparing for their future convention on Pacific Coast Highway back then?
And yet another connection. After receiving an email from Patrick Ivison's mom, offering comfort and understanding of the terror and panic I felt. She could relate because her son was run over by a car when he was 14 months old, and ended up with a spinal cord injury, rendering him quadriplegic. Her son is Patrick, the first boy Ricochet ever surfed with on August 20, 2009. He was also her first fundraiser.
Very surprisingly, (at the time) the following evening after Ricochet was almost hit, she raised her $100,000th dollar! We had been striving to reach this goal by August 20th, the two year anniversary of her working in the SURFice dog® role. And... her $100,000th dollar was raised for the New Jersey SPCA, in honor of another Patrick! Patrick the Miracle Dog who was abused and almost lost his life. He is now thriving and doing well. But her journey has gone full circle... the circle of life!
Both Ricochet and I survived life threatening events... me with my open heart surgery in March, she with almost being hit by a car. I believe I was protected just like Ricochet was... by a higher power. I had no symptoms of heart disease. I had no idea I could drop dead at any moment from four blocked arteries and a valve that needed to be replaced. Those who are protecting us identified the problem so I could have it fixed... so Ricochet's journey wouldn't come to an abrupt stop. If Ricochet wasn't here, she couldn't continue as a messenger. If I wasn't here, she couldn't continue either. We need each other to serve the purpose we're both on this earth to fulfill.
I have always said I was chosen to be Ricochet's guardian, and facilitate her journey. And now I believe Teri and Danny were chosen to be in their vehicle at that precise moment. I believe every single person and animal connection that played out over the last 21 months was perfectly chosen and guided. My favorite movie is "It's a Wonderful Life" where George is visited by his guardian angel and shown what could have been if he wasn't born. I know the outcome of this ordeal would have been tragically different if all these connections and events didn't occur at the time/place they did. Ricochet, Teri, Danny and Dog Bless were guided by their guardian angels that day... and kept Ricochet from harm. I'm so grateful to the living and spiritual beings who turned a potential tragedy into such an incredibly powerful positive message. This journey has definitely come full circle!!
I know, without doubt... there is a higher power guiding, and protecting Ricochet. As, I've mentioned, I believe she came through this ordeal without horrible consequences because her work isn't finished. I don't know what is next, but am looking forward to watching it unfold before my very eyes!
Oh, and Ricochet's name... RICOCHET [rik-uh-shey, rik-uh-shey] The motion of an object rebounding or deflecting. Spring back; spring away from an impact.
Some may say these were all coincidences. What do you believe? Guardian angels? Divine intervention? God? A higher power? The power of the universe? Synchronicity? I'm still not sure what this incredibly powerful and positive energy is that is Ricochet's journey. I'm just honored to have been chosen to be on the journey with her!
Leave me a comment on Ricochet's Facebook Page, and let me know your thoughts! Oh, and by the way... Ricochet has worn a harness or limited slip collar ever since!
See additional pictures below, including Teri's guardian angel, Eureka! I don't know who our guardian angels are for sure, but I believe there are many. My parents died when I was 22 years old. My dad in October, and my mom on xmas eve. I struggled for many, many years wondering why they were taken so early. I'm sure they played a part in this life saving incident. Thank you to ALL the guardian angels, angel animals from Rainbow Bridge, human, and spiritual beings that intervened that day! We are blessed!
I definitely feel the incredibly powerful energy leading this journey!
UPDATE: Today is August 9, 2012. I felt compelled to post this story again today... something told me it needed to be told again as Ricochet is approaching her three year anniversary of becoming a SURFice dog®. I believe even more strongly that Ricochet's work is guided by a higher power. That she was chosen to be a messenger to millions of people around the world. To give them hope, show them how to help others, surrender to the power of love, and live the life they were meant to live by being their 100% authentic selves... perfect as they are.
If you are reading this right now... you are part of the inter-connectedness of Ricochet... of the higher power that is orchestrating this journey, guiding her way, and protecting her. You are on this page right now for a reason. I'm facilitating her journey, but it's being led by some thing much more powerful than anything I could have ever imagined. I'm her guardian, but she belongs to YOUR heart... to each and every one of YOU... to teach YOU... and to love YOU.
It seems each anniversary is met with a milestone challenge. This year, it's reaching $250,000 by August 20th. I think these challenges are brought about by the Divine so Ricochet can reach out, and invite you to be part of her life of helping others. I'm overwhelmed by the support she gets from all of you, how kind you are to her, Rina and myself. We are very blessed to have you on this journey with us!
Please check out our new, inter-connected friend, Shiri at S.O.U.L. Academy School of Compassion
Maggie and Molly playing at the beach before leaving
Rina, me, Dave, Ricochet & Austin arriving at the beach after our angel encounter
This is Eureka-Teri & her family's first Golden. She had bone cancer and lost her cheek bone and eye.
She recovered from the surgery and did quite well for 18 months-then the cancer returned.
They lost her in April of 2008. Teri realized that Ricochet is raising money for K-9 Cancer.
She knows their Eureka wants her to succeed
Ricochet is meant to be, who she is and what she is. In and of itself, that is a powerful thing. And you have encouraged her, loved her, and let that happen. PJ Timmerman