Surf Dog Ricochet, the first-ever canine assisted surf therapy dog and goal directed therapy dog celebrates her 15th birthday even though she’s battling cancer and age-related degeneration of her musculoskeletal system. Ricochet was born on January 25th, 2008, in San Diego California. To celebrate, Ricochet is gathering her supporters from all over the world via Zoom on January 23rd from 4:30pm to 5:30pm to share the healing energy of drumming provided by Resounding Joy, a music therapy organization.
Despite the average lifespan of a golden retriever being 10-12 years, and 60% dying from cancer each year, Ricochet is celebrating this milestone with vigor and tenacity.
Back in the fall, Ricochet was on to her third cancer diagnosis. She previously had surgery to remove a soft tissue sarcoma in April of 2022. Shortly after she developed a liver mass with nodules. The cancer wasn’t operable and due to her age surgery wasn’t an option.
She wasn’t doing well and continued to go downhill.
Her guardian, Judy Fridono didn’t think she’d make it to her 15th birthday. So, she took her on a staycation in October to celebrate early. Part of the celebration included a drum circle led by a music therapist from Resounding Joy.
Resounding Joy enhances the human experience with therapeutic applications of music. They uplift individuals and families with challenges to their mental, physical, or emotional health. Their music therapy and music wellness services help them achieve their goals, find joy in the good times, and respite in the bad times.
Their music therapists are highly trained professionals, who after graduating with an approved degree in music therapy, complete a 1,200-hour internship and a challenging national board certification test. Music therapists’ education encompasses biology, psychology, and neurology, as well as training in voice, guitar, piano, percussion, and often other instruments to accommodate various evidence-based interventions.
“Ricochet has always enjoyed the sound of drumming, and since she lost some of her hearing, I thought she’d be able to feel the vibration. When we got home from the staycation, it was like she was re-energized. As such I’ve been taking her to Resounding Joy’s weekly drum circles for anyone associated with the military. I believe it’s making a big difference in the longevity and quality of Ricochet’s life.”, said Fridono.
Research has shown that drumming helps boost the immune system and causes a significant increase in disease-fighting T cells which helps the body fight cancer. Moreover, drumming reduces fatigue, stress, anxiety, chronic pain and more. It improves well-being, quality of life, mood and energy level and more. It’s also an effective treatment for PTSD in service members and veterans.
The benefit of drumming gives Ricochet an overall positive presence. She’s even back to working with service members in the Wounded Warrior Battalion at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. Although her work is modified due to her limitations, she is once again displaying her extraordinary intuition, alerting to triggers, connecting with service members on a soul level and helping in their recovery. Ricochet needs human interaction to keep her emotionally healthy, so doing the work she loves is only adding to her determination to kick cancer’s butt!
Reflecting on her legacy and impact that spans over a decade, Ricochet’s accomplishments are many, including raising $1 million dollars for charity. She took the world by storm in early 2009 when a video of her jumping on the surfboard of a 15-year-old adaptive surfer named Patrick went viral. Catching that first wave with Patrick launched her life purpose of canine-assisted surf therapy, healing, trauma intervention and empowerment. She’s worked with kids with special needs, people with different abilities, wounded warriors, veterans with PTSD, adaptive surfers and many more.
“Since drumming has helped Ricochet thrive, we want to share the phenomenon with her worldwide supporters and their pets through the Zoom drum session. Drumming for dogs isn’t something you see every day, but it’s working for us. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Ricochet 15th birthday than with her supporters”, said Fridono.
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