When Surf Dog Ricochet was eight weeks old, in addition to her service dog task training, she began balance and coordination training on a boogie board in a kiddie pool. Then, in the spring of 2009, she began going out to Fiesta Island, taking small paw steps before taking the giant leap to the ruff waters of the ocean.
She had been in the ocean about three times when she got a last minute call to compete in the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge Surfing dogs Competition on June 12, 2009. She was still quite a novice grom at 15 months old, but managed to win 3rd place in the large surfing dog category. She was only one point off from the 2nd place winner. Not bad for a new surf dog amongst the more experienced surfing dogs.
The Purina Incredible Dog Challenge invitation came at a pivotal time in her life, as it occurred during a period of serious discussions about her future. It was already evident that she wasn't fulfilling the expectations as a traditional service dog due to her interest in chasing critters... and there was disappointment about what she couldn't do, or become.
Surfing dogs & contests
Surf Dog Ricochet was one of the original southern California surfing dogs when dog surfing competitions started. She competed for several years, and typically won first, second or third place, including the Loews Coronado Bay contest (now called Unleashed by Petco Competition), the Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf a Thon, Surf City Surf Dog and the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge.
Some of the dog surfing contests held fundraisers in conjunction with their events, and Surf Dog Ricochet was always the top fundraiser. She also surfs for fun, but her passion is surfing with purpose... focusing on people with disabilities, and kids with special needs in a non traditional way!
Prior to Surf Dog Ricochet, there weren’t any dogs committed to adaptive surfing, surf therapy or ocean therapy. Therefore, she became the Canine Ambassador for Surfers with Disabilities®. In the last couple years, other dog owners both locally, and as far as South Africa have become inspired by her self-chosen career. They would like to share the stoke of their dog's healing power too. But, we highly recommend that each dog receives professional training and becomes credentialed as a certified or registered therapy dog with a legitimate national organization before embarking on this endeavor. And liability insurance specific to surfing with a dog is a must because there are risks associated with this type activity.
But what makes Surf Dog Ricochet extraordinary is her powerful ability to make immediate, deep, heart-to-heart connections with the individuals she interacts with. She intuitively and empathically alerts to their emotional and physical changes which allows for profound paws-on healing interventions.
Surf Dog Ricochet is an ambassador for, or supports the following organizations:
Autism Surf Camp
Beautifully Flawed Retreat - Friends of Bethany Hamilton
Best Day Foundation
Canine Inspired Community Re-integration (CICR)
Helen Woodward Animal Center
ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship
Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation
Life Rolls On
Living The Dream Foundation
Make A Wish
Marine Corps Exceptional Family Member Program
Morris Animal Foundation
Navy Life SW Fleet & Family Readiness Program
Ocean Healing Group
Paw it forward
Pay It Forward Day
SICS School of Water Rescue Dogs
Surf for SMA
Surfers for Autism
Veteran's Adaptive Sports Camp - Surf Clinic
Out of the box
“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Apple Inc.
Well, Ricochet isn't "people", but she certainly sees things differently, does things differently and no matter what, she stays true to herself and her purpose so she can change the world!
She was told she couldn't be a service dog because she likes to chase birds. So, she did something different than the status quo. She jumped on a surfboard, and has been surfing with people with disabilities ever since. Plus, as the years went by, she started helping military with PTSD as a service dog. So, she went full circle!
She's an empath, and has been blessed with the ability to instantly bond with anyone she interacts with. She intuitively knows exactly what each individual needs, even if they don't.
In her world, she does things differently than most. She has her own ideas, beliefs and life purpose. She doesn't follow the status quo.
Because of Ricochet's unique, and highly skilled background of service, therapy and surf dog training, She's the only SURFice dog® on the planet who surfs with kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors and veterans with PTSD.
Ricochet has been featured in hundreds of media sources all over the world showcasing and raising awareness of her causes and surfing, such as the Associated Press, The Oprah Winfrey Network, The Today Show and many more. For a complete list with links, please visit her news page.