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Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with the Dog Who Inspires Millions Hardcover – June 3, 2014
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"This is a beautiful story from start to finish about the journey of one very special human/canine team and the powerful impact they have had on so many human lives. Ricochet is a truly inspirational read that will not only make you laugh and cry, but also confirm what great love, trust, and dedication can achieve."
―Victoria Stilwell, author of Train Your Dog Positively
"If you've ever loved an animal, this book is a must-read. It will lift your heart and keep you turning the pages with its insights about love, loss, keeping your faith, making a difference, and the intangible but incredible connection we have with our animals."
―Dr. Marty Becker, "America's Veterinarian" (Endorsements)
"Ricochet's awe-inspiring story is a celebration of the healing power of the human-animal bond. Judy's personal journey with Ricochet is a moving story of hope with a four-legged champion of compassion who continues to touch many lives. This is a must-read tribute to real American heroes on both ends of the leash!"
―Robin R. Ganzert, Ph.D., president and CEO, American Humane Association (Endorsements)
"Ricochet is a must-read for everyone who wants to be inspired in a challenging world in which inspiration is much-needed. I've never met a dog being like Ricochet and I hope one day to do so. Thanks to Judy Fridono for sharing this wonderful story of a most amazing savior. Ricochet is a very special dog whose story must be circulated and shared globally."
― Marc Bekoff, author of Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed
"What a wonderful story! Ricochet is everything anyone could hope for in a dog―friend, coworker, and surf buddy―to name a few of her many qualities. This amazing dog and her incredible human partner found their purpose in life together. They will make you want to spring into action with your own natural talents. This book is a blessing!"
―Allen and Linda Anderson, founders of Angel Animals Network and authors of Animals & the Kids Who Love Them
"Ricochet will bound right into your heart. Her story inspires us all to find our purpose!"
―W. Bruce Cameron, author, A Dog's Purpose
"Judy Fridono recounts story after story of lives forever changed, her own included, with the help and presence of her furry canine companion, Ricochet, whose soul purpose is to encourage and comfort anyone who dares to dream of riding the perfect wave. Profound and uplifting, the story of Ricochet is not so much about a dog who surfs but about the impact she has in the lives she touches, one paw at a time."
―Susan Sims, publisher, FIDO Friendly magazine
About the Author
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 Ricochet, an internationally renowned, award winning surf dog who has become an inspirational phenomenon, philanthropic role model, internet sensation, fundraising marvel, community advocate, goodwill ambassador, and muse to millions!
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The book tells us the 'complete' journey of Judy and Ricochet so far. It starts with Judy's troubled adolescence, the loss of her loved ones, illnesses...basically a whole lot of suffering. And then she decides to do something amazing: sign up for training a service dog.
Now here's a bit of a personal story for ya (from me, Anne *waves*). We got our dog when he was 1.5 years old and had already gone through 8 owners before us. Sure, he had some issues we needed to work on together, but nothing major which would explain his abundance of previous owners. No dog deserves to go through something like that, and it made him very insecure about pretty much everything. The first time we went on a stay over trip at my in-laws, we packed up his stuff and put it in the car. The poor wee thing was shaking in a corner of the house with his tail between his legs, thinking he'd be shipped off to yet another new family.
When we decided he needed training to get his confidence back and for us to build a better bond with him, we searched for trainers in our area. The first two we went to made me feel SO uncomfortable. Choking collars, yelling and punishing seemed to be the way to get your dog to obey. I have never hurt any of my animals intentionally, so this was not the way to go.
We watched a lot of Ceasar Milano during the first month as well because hey, he's the expert right?! I didn't want to admit it right away but watching him work with those dogs also made me feel very uncomfortable. It's like turning them into mindless zombies by using intimidation. Now it's all about reenacting the pack life and being the alpha dog but neither my husband nor I wanted that. A dog should be a companion, not a docile creature who never misbehaves because he's terrified of you. It's how I stumbled upon positive reinforcement, Victoria Stillwell, and a small local training group who used a clicker instead of a torturing collar. It was a wonderful experience and a way better fit with how we want to interact with animals. And it worked (would be hilarious if I said it didn't work at all now eh)!
So when I read about Judy's struggle with the dominant type of obedience training with her first service dog, Rina, I knew exactly what she was talking about. The fact that Rina was eventually released from the puppy training program because she was 'broken' just intensified this feeling. Reading about how she got back to being a happy dog again by using positive reinforcement made me a happy gal for sure. It's how Ricochet was trained as well and you can see how much it influenced her by looking at her independent, lovable spirit.
The story of Ricochet is one of spirituality, of how everything and everyone is connected. It's about how life is a sacred journey and whenever you're wondering why you've had to endure so much struggle or heartache, it's to get right to the point where you're supposed to be; everything happens for a reason.
"If we go into a forest on a trail that's already been cleared, it's the one true sign we're not on our own path. If you follow someone else's entry, you're on someone else's path. To discover who we really are, we need to find out own path."
In the book, we get to read about Ricochet's encounters with people with disabilities, children with autism, veterans suffering from PTSD, and cancer patients (just to name a few). She managed to connect with them all instantly and make them break free of any sort of physical or mental barrier, if only just for the moment. I definitely shed a few tears here and there while reading about it, but also after reading up on what happened afterwards.
For instance, I saw that Caleb, a 15-year-old boy with brain cancer, and with the brightest most genuine smile I've ever seen, passed away shortly after the part where the book ends.
And then there's sweet Rina, who passed away on Memorial Day, 2016. I bawled my eyes out when I heard it.
All that rests me to say about this book now is that if you're a dog lover, or want to read an inspiring and sometimes heartbreaking pawtobiography, you should definitely dive into the story of Ricochet. It sometimes got a little too spiritual for me and during the end of the book, there was a lot of repetitiveness going on, but still, this was an amazing journey. A percent of book sales will go to Ricochet's causes fund to help humans and animals in need.
I'm a fan!
A massive thank you and high paw to Judy Fridono for sending me a copy all the way from the US!
Well, in spite of the fact that I’m an avid and quick reader, it took me over a week to get through the entire 274 pages of this book (and that’s with many pages of pictures, mind you). It wasn’t that it was a hard read, it wasn’t that it was uninteresting, it wasn’t that it was poorly written. Quite the opposite. It was difficult to get through because I was crying so much I could do little more than a chapter or two at a time. To learn of the hardships Judy Fridono has endured, both emotional and physical, made me admire this woman I have never met more than some people I have actually called friend in my lifetime.
Ricochet is a Service Dog Dropout who was allowed to find her true dog path in life when Judy learned to let go of preconceived ideas of what the dog should be and do. We all know dogs that have empathy for lesser-abled or troubled humans that provide needed therapy on levels we can never really understand. Ricochet has an amazing capacity to recognize exactly what a person needs, whether they are a teen battling a life threatening disease, an autistic child, a PTSD veteran. Through surfing, she brings people out of dark holes and into the sunshine. You may not understand some parts of the book (such as dog communicators) but there is no denying the far reaching success that Ricochet has had in raising money, raising awareness, and assisting in the healing process for so many.
The lesson of Ricochet (and Rina and Judy) is quite simple – don’t give up. If you fail at one thing find another calling or passion or purpose. That purpose doesn’t need to be anything lofty; it can be as simple as being a good & caring person, as long as it feels natural & right. If you get knocked down, do your best to get back up, the journey will be worth it. Most of all, if you are a Round Peg, don’t let “them” force you into that Square Hole. And if you are still in doubt, just look into the eyes of this amazing dog and you will see the light.