Most people know Ricochet as the iconic surf dog that made history ten years ago when she jumped on the board of a boy who is paralyzed and became the first ever canine-assisted surf therapy dog.
Since then, she's assisted hundreds of kids with special needs and people with disabilities.
But what many people don't know is that Ricochet is a certified goal-directed therapy dog with extraordinary healing abilities.
She has been working with service members and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for over seven years. The connection she makes with people defies present-day scientific understanding.
"Superman has x-ray vision, but Ricochet can see right into your soul," notes Persons B. Griffith IV ("Griff"), a retired Marine Staff Sergeant, who suffers from combat-related post-traumatic stress.
Ricochet is extremely sensitive, empathic and intuitive. She mirrors the emotions of those she works with through her subtle and not so subtle behaviors.
"Somehow she knows their triggers," says Judy Fridono, Ricochet's guardian.
"She assumes responsibility for their well-being and alerts them to potential triggers in the environment. She will stop and plant (refusing to move), or she'll redirect them to a less anxiety-provoking area," said Fridono.
The Marine Staff Sergeant corroborates Judy's words.
"The last time I worked with Ricochet, she alerted to a mall security guard by leading me away from the area we were in. She took it a step further by guiding me behind a bench where we were able to 'take cover' like I did when we took fire on the battlefield," Griff said.
Ricochet's behavior helps Griff (and others she works with) identify deep-seated emotional trauma which can then be addressed with therapists. As a result, the healing process often advances more quickly.
Ricochet on IMAX Screens
Ricochet and Griff met through a six-week canine therapy clinic provided by Paws'itive Teams, and Naval Medical Center San Diego's Wounded, Ill and Injured Wellness Program.
After the clinic ended, Griff volunteered for Ricochet's Waves of Empowerment program. From there, Griff was cast to be in the IMAX film, Superpower Dogs with Ricochet because of their soul-to-soul connection.
The film premieres in March 2019.
Both Fridono and Griff's objective with these videos and IMAX film is that they can be a catalyst that gives hope to anyone with emotional trauma who is suffering in silence or contemplating suicide.
The statistics are staggering: 22 veterans with PTSD die by suicide every day.
Fridono believes all dogs have these healing powers. However, we often misinterpret their cues as bad behavior. In doing so, we miss the magic every dog is capable of.
Her wish is that others will gain a better understanding of the sentience of dogs, and how they are always communicating with us - we just have to listen.
If you'd like to learn how to interpret your dog's behavior better, unleash their healing power, or if you have PTSD and want to discover how a pet dog, emotional support dog or service dog can help you, visit surfdogricochet.com.