Ricochet is a “SURFice” dog for disabled surfers.
Guest blog written by Ed Sayres, ASPCA President & CEO.
Last fall, I was honored to present at the ASPCA’s annual Humane Awards Luncheon the "Dog of the Year" award to a beautiful Golden Retriever named Ricochet. The competition was steep, as we were inundated with stories of dog heroes doing extraordinary things. Despite the number of super dog candidates, Ricochet stood out because of all she has done and continues to do for people and animals in need.
Ricochet’s guardian recognized her dog's special qualities when she was a puppy being trained to be a service dog to a person with a disability. Little Ricochet's spirit held her back as a service dog: Her desire to chase birds meant that she might be too lively for life as a service dog. Instead, through happenstance Ricochet became a surfer. Not just any surfer, but a surfer who was riding waves to help others.
In 2009, Ricochet was surfing next to a quadriplegic surfer and decided to abandon her board to jump onto his as they neared the shoreline. From that moment, Ricochet became a “SURFice” dog for disabled surfers. In addition to actually surfing with disabled persons, Ricochet raises funds for more than 150 human and animal causes.
We were there to cheer Ricochet on last weekend at the 7th Annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition in San Diego County. It was a perfect beach day with not a cloud in the sky. All types of dogs—from Pomeranians sporting sunglasses to Bulldogs wearing visors—were on the beach ready to watch the four-legged competitors.
Celebrities were on hand as well. Actor and Good Morning America contributor Cameron Mathison rode the surfboard with Ricochet during the tandem heat and came in second place despite having just learned to surf the day before. Clearly Ricochet is a good teacher.
More than 50 dogs competed and were scored on their confidence level, length of ride on the board and overall ability to "grip it and rip it." The dogs were all superstars. Ricochet won the large dog category; Abbie Girl, an Australian Kelpie, won the small dog category; and Zoey, a Jack Russell Terrier, won the tandem category.
This year's event raised $10,000 for the ASPCA. Congratulations to all of the athletes—canine and human—who participated in this year's Loews Surf Dog Competition!