Surf therapy dog makes waves online helping first responders
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Along with people adapting during the pandemic, our four legged friends are making their own adjustments.
Especially Ricochet the Surf Therapy Dog who has over 90,000 followers on Instagram and uses her platform to serve others. COVID-19 health orders are now forcing her to get creative with how she helps.
“It’s a big adjustment, she misses the interaction with people quite a bit,” says Judy Fridono, Ricochet’s owner. “It started out with the virtual canine therapy that we do with Pawsitive Teams, the organization that Ricochet is certified through, and I thought well maybe we can do that online somehow.”
Ricochet has over a decade of experience working with children who have special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors and veterans with PTSD as an assistive aid.
Fridono says she began brainstorming how she could find a way to reach those on the front lines of the pandemic along with children who are having to stay home because of health orders.
“It kind of grew to doing FaceTime, zoom sessions and then we started working with doctors and nurses on the front lines that are working with COVID-19 patients,” Fridono said. “So we help them relax and unwind.”
Fridono began to see many similarities in war to the trauma and grief that doctor’s and nurses are living through every day on the front lines of a pandemic that’s claiming lives and redefining our world as we know it.
“I think it’s really really important because just last week there was a doctor who took her own life because she was treating so many patients with COVID-19, she got it herself. I thought, it would be the same as the veterans and service members who come back from war with PTSD,” Fridono said. “I really think these doctors and nurses will as well, so I really wanted to do something proactive so that we can try and give them some kind of comfort as everything happening.”
Ricochet also works with young students, giving parents an alternative to have some fun if they run out of things to do during the day.