Where poets, writers & artists won’t let chronic illness stand in the way of creativity
Welcome to Poet’s Corner (& Artists too) ~ Issue #34
From our Editor:
This issue is going to be all about inspiration, as we are happy to have back with us, 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. We are going to be doing another interview, as they have some exciting updates to share with us.
Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with the Dog Who Inspires Millions, was published last year by Judy Fridono with Kay Pfaltz. It is now available on Paperback and also in Japan.
Here is the link for the book. surfdogricochet.com/ricochets-book
CJ Poetry Editor
In this issue:
Question & Answer Session, Continued (with Judy Fridono, Ricochet the SURFice dog® & Rina)
‘Movement’ (Hummingbird) – Chalk on Paper (by Trish Dyne)
A Dog’s Tale of Inspiration (by Brenda Kleinsasser)
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 with a lifestyle of helping others by ‘pawing it forward’ while raising awareness & offering support to human/animal causes.
Judy, How has Ricochet’s book had an impact on people’s lives and why?
I think the book gives people who are struggling with life some hope. There are several stories in it of people who had to deal with a lot of adversity, but came through stronger and better than ever. Their strength and positive attitude is incredible. I also give people the opportunity to listen to their dogs, as they’re always communicating, we just have to listen. Once we pay more attention, it’s pretty amazing what we see and our relationship with our dogs gets stronger.
Ricochet, Can you describe what it is like to surf, with someone who may be struggling? How do you help to make their personality shine?
I take my work very seriously. People/kids/veterans literally have their life in my paws while we’re surfing. So, you will rarely see me smiling on the surfboard. When I surf with someone who is struggling, transformations can be made from the moment their toe hits the water until we surf into shore. I’m able to bond with them immediately on a very deep, heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul level, so that brings us closer together. I don’t need words to communicate with them, but we are communicating the whole time. I can feel their pain, their struggles and their issues, and I try to leave them with some positive energy. So, I’m often very tired after surfing. And not from the physical aspect, but from the emotional one. The kids/people/veterans usually get a big rush from surfing the wave, so they typically smile, scream and get really excited. Their worries, pain, anxiety and any other negative thing is gone for those moments in time. They gain confidence and empowerment.
Rina, I understand that you kicked cancer’s butt this year. Can you tell us a bit about the campaign that was launched? I understand that it involved something you like to carry around.
Ricochet launched a campaign for me called “kick cancer’s butt”. People posted photos of shoes that would give a good kick! They kept the campaign positive so I wouldn’t feel any negative energy. The positive energy helped in my healing. And all the prayers and well wishes from our FB fans was overwhelming, and really worked. Us dogs can feel human emotion, so if you’re negative, scared or worried about us, it makes us feel those things too. But, if you stay positive, we have a positive environment in which to fight whatever disease or issue we have. Mom created a healing sanctuary for me with essential oils, reiki treatments, drumming circles and so much more. It all worked!
Judy, Can you describe to us, as a dog owner what it felt like to meet Rina’s challenges head on, as I understand she now has arthritis as well.
Well, I wanted to stay positive for her. I didn’t want to freak out by the cancer diagnosis. I think when illness comes into our dog’s lives, it’s the most important time to be positive. Dogs are way too in tune with us not to pick up all our fear and negativity about the illness. Instead, I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions until I had biopsy reports, etc. We took a trip to Sedona so she could be in one of the most healing places in the world. I focused on health and healing more than cancer. Of course, it’s difficult that she is getting older (12 now). She has arthritis and sometimes limps. But laser treatments have really helped with that. She’s slowed down, doesn’t walk as fast, and tires more easily. But she still gets excited to get in the car and go somewhere. I know our time is limited, so I try to spend as much quality time with her as possible. Dogs just don’t live long enough… their only negative trait!
Ricochet, Can you describe what causes you to be so focused, not only on the surfboard, but also in your new path of possessing empathy for others?
On the surfboard it’s because I have their life in my paws. But, in general I’m a serious, thoughtful dog. I analyze everything, think about everything. I want to help everyone. It may be unrealistic, but that is what I want to do. The more mom learns to read me, the better I get at what I do because she can interpret and know what I’m saying about the person I’m working with. What I do is my life purpose, and not everyone can find theirs, or live theirs. I’m so fortunate that I can, and I’m on this earth to not only heal people, but to teach.
Rina, How have your treatments for your arthritis made you feel?
During the treatment, I feel cool because I have to wear sunglass goggles to protect my eyes from the laser. The treatments help me have less pain so I don’t have to limp. It makes me happy to feel young again!
Judy, Can you share some of what is involved in these treatments for Rina?
It started with six treatments. The first week she got three treatments, the 2nd week she got two and the third week she got one. She’s now on a maintenance protocol and I just bring her in when I notice she’s having pain. Laser treatment is like a miracle and I recommend it to everyone.
Ricochet, Can you describe A Best Day, in your own words?
Surf Dog Rochet on youtube: www.youtube.com/watch
Rina, I understand you love sitting outside. Do you find that the warmth of the sun, helps with your arthritis?
I don’t really lay in the sun much. Mostly I lay under the porch. It’s like my little cave! I just love being outside because it grounds me. There is so much to see, smell and see. And it’s different every day. Plus, I don’t want to miss an opportunity to get a treat from our neighbors.
Judy, How have all these challenges that you faced this year, affected your arthritis, if at all, or any other medical condition?
It’s affected my weight more than anything LOL. We haven’t been as active because of Rina’s arthritis. I have a problem with my achilles tendon too, so it’s hard to walk. But I’ve had arthritis since I was 16, I so it’s just part of my life. I don’t put much emphasis on it. I had open heart surgery 4 years ago to replace a valve and quadruple bypass, so it taught me what’s important in life, and how quickly it can be over. So, I just try to enjoy every day.
Ricochet, What is your most favorite thing to do, besides surfing?
Chase critters or lurecoursing. www.youtube.com/watch
Rina, how did you learn to whisper?
When our neighbor’s grandchild, Madison was about 2 years old, she was playing with Rina. She asked her to speak, and Rina’s voice jolted Madison. Rina saw her reaction, so after that she would whisper when Madison was around. I just added a word to the behavior. But Madison & Rina are responsible for that one!
Judy, Can you explain this new path that Ricochet has taken on and how you came to discovering it?
I don’t think it’s a new path. I think she’s been on it since she took her first breath. It’s just that I’m able to understand it better. She takes her healing abilities to a new level, but I believe it’s just because I’ve learned how to read and interpret her behavior. She’s like a mirror to the people she interacts with, so I can usually tell how they’re feeling based on her behavior. Ricochet and I were fortunate to have worked with a service member with PTSD who was willing to share his feelings with me. That was extremely helpful because he validated what Ricochet was saying. For instance, Ricochet will stop and plant when she is alerting to something. This one time we were in a park. He was handling Ricochet. We were getting ready to walk on a covered sidewalk. Ricochet stopped. I didn’t see anything worth alerting about, but the service member said he didn’t like tunnels. So, that helped me realize Ricochet was stopping and alerting because she knew he didn’t like tunnels, and she didn’t want him to be anxious. So, we took another path that wasn’t covered. Had he not told me that, I wouldn’t have known. So now, if she does something, I can ask the person if they’re feeling a certain way because I see how Ricochet is acting.
I have been diagnosed with several auto immune diseases and currently live at home with my husband and carer.
Along with writing and poetry, I have several pieces of art entered and recognised in several different Auto Immune and Disability exhibitions.
Editor Brenda on “Trevor’s Golden Corner”
For those of you who are not familiar with Trevor, he is a Golden Retriever who helps Brenda out with spreading Tales of Awareness.
Trevor’s Golden Corner: Tale of a Dog in Videos
Brenda always tells me, that I am an inspiration. I am not quite sure what that means, as I am a dog and all I want is bones. BOL I love working with her to help spread inspiration and hope. I guess some have missed me, because she put my photo up on her Facebook wall and boy, did I get the love. This one guy, said it looked like I needed to be vacuumed. I do have have a lot of fur, but Brenda keeps me well groomed. Brenda actually chuckled, because he really is a good guy, and has made her laugh, even on her rough days. Humor is so important, when you live with a chronic illness. Laughing is a great coping mechanism, as it can actually makes us feel better and help to get our minds off of our pain, if only for a little while.
I really hope you enjoyed the interview with Judy Fridono, Ricochet and Rina. Judy is an amazing lady and these 2 dogs are quite inspirational in their own right. Well, that is it for this time. Remember to laugh at least once a day, every day. Take it from Trevor, you’ll be glad you did.
Be sure and join us next month, when we will be featuring Jennifer Taft with our “Autumn of Art”