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Ricochet, San Diego’s beloved surf therapy dog, dies at 15

Ricochet, San Diego’s favorite surf therapy dog, has caught his last wave.

The 15-year-old Golden Retriever – a pioneer in dog-assisted surf therapy who has helped countless veterans and children – died on Friday, his owner Judy Fridono said on Saturday. Ricochet was diagnosed with liver cancer in August, but began experiencing painful symptoms on Friday.

“I promised Ricochet a long time ago that I wouldn’t let her suffer,” Fridono said in an announcement. “She took her first breath in my hand when she was born…and she took her last breath in my hand yesterday.”

Ricochet was bred to be a service dog, but the energetic pup enjoyed chasing birds more than helping out with household chores, Fridono said.

In 2009, the dog found his calling.

It was the year Ricochet got on a surfboard with local quadriplegic surfer Patrick Ivison. A viral video of the encounter has been viewed more than 6 million times on YouTube.

“That day she jumped on set with Patrick, she was reborn,” Fridono said in a 2012 interview with the Union-Tribune. “She kept running towards the water wagging her tail as if she could finally tell me, ‘This is what I want to do’.”

Throughout his life, the beloved dog has touched the lives of children with special needs, injured service members, and families of deceased veterans. Ricochet was known as a loving companion, a shameless beggar and had a hunch for people who needed a hug, Fridono said.

Notably, the furry benefactor helped raise $1 million for charity and the donation of over a million food bowls for homeless animals.

Ricochet also worked as a goal-oriented therapy dog ​​for Pawsitive Teams and the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, where she supported service members and veterans with PTSD, trauma, anxiety, and other challenges. emotional.

Her work has won numerous awards, media attention and a loyal fan base on social media. The pup had more than 141,000 followers on instagram and more than 270,000 on Facebook.

Ricochet’s legacy will live on through the sponsorship of Jose Martinez, Army veteran and parasurfer, and through donations to adaptive surfing organizations.

“People believe in Ricochet’s mission…she didn’t do it alone,” Fridono said. “His followers are an extension of his heritage and roots in philanthropy and help others heal through canine intervention and therapy.

Now that she’s gone, I don’t want people to be sad, I want them to celebrate and keep supporting what she started.

California Daily Newspapers

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