From Our Editor:
I am delighted to share our special guests with you. Judy Fridono, who lives with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Rina, her service dog, a female golden/Lab mix and last but not least, Ricochet the SURFice dog® a female, golden retriever.
Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with the Dog Who Inspires Millions, was recently published by Judy Fridono with Kay Pfaltz. I have read this wonderful book and all I can tell you is, you better have your tissues handy, as it is that inspiring and uplifting.
Here is a link, for the book. http://www.surfdogricochet.com/ricochets-book.html
CJ Poetry Editor
In this issue:
Judy Fridono is a dog trainer with an Associate’s degree in service dog training. She is the founder of Puppy Prodigies, a unique program designed to provide a long-term advantage at an early age for service dogs and pets. She is also the guardian of Rina and Ricochet. Ricochet is the only SURFice dog® in the world who interacts and surfs with kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors and veterans with PTSD as an empath and assistive aid.
Ricochet is also a hero dog and therapy dog who lives a lifestyle of helping others by ‘pawing it forward’ while raising awareness & offering support to human/animal causes.
Judy, when were you diagnosed with JRA?
It started, when I was 16.
Ricochet, when did you know, what your true calling would be?
When I was finally allowed to be who I was without expectations about what I SHOULD be.
Rina, can you tell us about your excitement when a package arrives?
That is my favorite thing to do in the whole world! When I hear the UPS or other delivery truck, I run down our long driveway and start barking. I’m just so excited & sometimes it takes the driver a little bit to get the package from the back of the truck. Then, they place it over the fence and I figure out how to carry it back up the driveway. But the UPS driver is the best. He always gives me & Ricochet a treat first.
Judy, how has what you have endured, impacted your life to find your true passion?
A lot of what I do is protect Ricochet’s purity. She has a pure heart, and is able to do what she does because of it. I’ve had a lot of loss and pain in my life, and I’m not afraid to stand up for what I believe in. If Ricochet had someone who was more reserved, she wouldn’t be able to do what she does because there are too many outside influences that try to interfere.
Ricochet, I understand you do not like thunder. How do you cope with that?
I hide! It’s mostly pop noises that I have issue with. We live in San Diego, so I really only heard thunder once. But when we go to events things like balloons popping freak me out. Sometimes I have a panic attack and will start trembling. I see refuge in a crate or, we leave the environment.
Rina, can you describe what Judy means to you?
I’m on this earth specifically for Judy. She didn’t know it at first because she was raising me to be a service dog for someone else. But I knew it. I went along with her plan, but came back to her after I was released from that role. She protects me and is very in tune with how I communicate. I love to be outside, and she doesn’t make me go inside until it’s time to sleep. We are soul mates.
Judy, can you describe to us, what it is like having Ricochet surf with a wounded warrior or a child who has had a wish granted?
Each experience is different, but they all have the same thing in common. They are all joyful. Ricochet has an uncanny ability to mirror the emotions of those she interacts with. She rarely smiles when she surfs because she’s so focused. But, when she surfed with a 15 year old boy named Caleb who had brain cancer, she was mirroring his joy. He had a huge smile on his face, and so did she. To me, he was the human representation of Ricochet. They both had so much purity about them. Sadly, six weeks after they surfed, he passed away. But he touched our lives in so many ways.
She has also transformed lives through her energy. It’s the healing power of the ocean, and a healing power of a dog. Everyone who witnesses the interaction feels pure joy. The goodness is overwhelming. It’s much more than just the physical act of surfing. She is reaching these individuals on a very deep level. Healing takes place.
Ricochet, what is it like for you, when you are out there catching those waves?
The ocean is my real home. That’s when I feel most alive. Being able to share the waves with individuals in need is my life calling. It took me a while to get others to recognize what I’m on this earth to do. But now that they know, I’m given complete control of my own destiny. I’m never told what to do, and instead I teach others.
Rina, describe what Ricochet means to you?
Ricochet is what I was born to be a catalyst for. We’re very different, but we love each other very much. She’s fun to play with. Sometimes she sits on top of me in the car. She’s done that since she was a puppy. But, I don’t mind. Sometimes she’ll steal the treats the neighbors toss over the fence. I don’t like that too much, but then the neighbors feel bad for me, and give me more.
Judy, in your own words, describe the bond, that the three of you share?
We are our own little family. Rina began this journey, and plays a huge role, albeit in the background like I do. But we know Ricochet couldn’t do what she does without the two of us. We’re a strong unit that is fueled by love.
You can also read more about Ricochet and her causes on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SurfDogRicochet
I want to thank our special guests, Judy Fridono, her service dog Rina, and Ricochet the SURFice dog® for sharing with us. You trulyhave been an inspiration to so many out there. Congratulations on the book!
Jonathan Hunter, is a featured CreakyJoints blogger, and he shares a poem with us. I’ve asked Jonathan to share some fun facts about himself.
I was born in a tiny town in Zambia. I have hitchhiked over 10 000 miles in my life. I was an Infantry Combat Platoon Commander. I am most comfortable wearing a kikoi, which is a traditional men’s sarong in Kenya. I love broadening my mind, making sculpture, gardening, and parenting. I take my disease into the backcountry, and have rafted the Grand Canyon, canoed Desolation and Grey canyons on the Green River, and descended over 30 slot canyons while in a swollen state.
Jonathan describes this poem as being spontaneous and a bit of a lark, so therefore, no title.
The teeth are through my coat, my dear
And almost on my skin
The wolf is o’er the moat, my dear
Is it alright to let it in?
..and the “audience” yelled to “let it in! Let it in!”, so….
The townsfolk roared to let it in
for it was blood they smelt
Surely for his life of sin
That wolfy hand was dealt
He heard their cheers to yield now
Hot wolf breath on his face
And faltered trying to figure how
To put Lupus in its place
The champing, snarling teeth he feared
Latched now onto his collar
rallied him as the ending neared
and he gave a mighty holler
“What did I do to bring this here,
this beast that hounds me sorely?
It feeds upon my mounting fear
Stalking slow and surely.”
The wolf drew back and launched again
a hurricane of bites
enjoying giving away the pain
that tortured him most nights
The bodies now a spinning ball
Fur blood teeth hair screams
Last thought intact he sees the fact all
nightmares once were dreams
The watchers they had turned away
the outcome all but certain
Something crass about watching the fray
right until the final curtain
I choose, my dear, now death draws nigh
to quit resisting and hug my foe
I embraced the wolf, I tell no lie,
Wolf stopped his killing and hugged me slow
Unseen by all we lay like that
my enemy and I
still panting from our mortal spat
just gazing at the sky
In this installment of Trevor’s Barks of Gold, he is sharing what a new season can mean.