From the sand to the waves, Surf Dog Ricochet is changing lives one ride at a time.
When a Golden Retriever named Ricochet jumped on a surf board with a boy with special needs without any prompting, she was sending a message. She had all the training of the average therapy dog, but there's nothing average about Ricochet's unique ways of empowering others.
She helps military veterans with PTSD, wounded warriors, and children with special needs by catching waves and focusing on their physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. The Waves of Empowerment program is based around the human-canine bond as mentors work with Ricochet to unite warriors on all fronts.
Here are a few ways Ricochet and the rest of the Waves of Empowerment team change lives.
The Waves of Empowerment philosophy is all about how people can help people. Mentors are military veterans, civilians, and children, and they can be either able-bodied or disabled.
The only real requirement is that they're willing to bond with a new surfer to help them reach their goals--whether that means to hang ten or make a friend.
StandUP With a Warrior
Every now and then, Ricochet trades her surf board for a stand up paddle board. She helps military veterans transition into civilian life by giving them a renewed purpose.
With Ricochet's help, they take kids out on the water to help them develop motor skills and gain confidence. Most of all, they have fun!
Playing with a Purpose
Ricochet takes her job of empowering others seriously, but that doesn't mean she can't have fun. She and her canine friends bring together children and adults with varying abilities to work toward a common goal. They all want to have fun, and they do it while helping each other overcome their personal struggles.
Ricochet and her fellow therapy dogs, service dogs, and emotional support dogs get the fun started, but the kids keep it going.
Give Kids a Voice
Children who feel silenced because of bullies, illness, or stress at home see Ricochet as a judgement-free outlet. They're shown that what they have to say is both valued and important.
The comforting and compassionate environment allows them to open up in ways that are hard at first but become easier with each pet of Ricochet's soft fur.
Twenty-two veterans a day commit suicide because of the effects of PTSD. It's a multi-faceted condition with no direct cure, but playing with a pack of puppies is known to help.
Operation Socialization enlists help from veterans with PTSD to socialize puppies training to be therapy dogs. The puppies grow to be comfortable in all kinds of social situations, and so do the veterans.
Hailing from San Diego, California, this hero dog is an assistive aid to so many. She has a powerful ability to change people's lives. Ricochet helps whomever needs her and is good furiends to everyone she meets.
What do you think about Surf Dog Ricochet? Let us know in the comments.
All images via Facebook/Surf Dog Ricochet
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