There are dogs who play ball, dogs who chase cats and dogs who catch Frisbees. But near San Diego there is Ricochet, a 3-year-old golden retriever who catches waves and captures hearts.
Ricochet helps teach disabled people how to surf by acting as a canine co-pilot.
“She stabilizes the board,” said Sabine Becker, who was born with no arms. “Somehow, she does it so we’re not off balance. She is just standing there and just surfs with us.”
Surfing isn’t even Ricochet’s first career. From birth, she was trained to be a service dog, a companion to someone who needed help with everyday tasks. But she is a little mischievous and likes to chase birds, poor traits for a companion who needs to provide constant attention.
Owner Judy Fridono discovered Ricochet had other ways to help.
“I wanted her to make a difference in one life, and she’s touched millions and millions now.”
Ricochet started boogie boarding at 8 weeks old and is now a pro on the surfboard. Fridono swears she adjusts her balance and stance depending on the disability of the person she is surfing with.
Ricochet is just as valuable on land: She has raised more than $100,000 for different charities on her Facebook page and her videos have gone viral, garnering more than 6 million views.
She is also a finalist for the annual “Hero Dog Award” from the American Humane Association, where she is up against a guide dog and even a military dog, all amazing animals. And while they all might rate a 10, only Ricochet can hang ten.