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Surf Dog Ricochet Stars in Imax Film ‘Superpower Dogs’, An Inspiring True Story of Extraordinary Dogs and Their Life Saving Super Powers

March 23, 2019 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email
The World Premiere of the documentary, Superpower Dogs, an inspiring true story of extraordinary dogs and their life-saving superpowers, opened on March 9th at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Ricochet, a registered and certified goal-directed therapy dog is one of five dogs in the film. The other four include Henry, an avalanche rescue dog, Reef, a water rescue dog, Halo, a search and rescue dog and Tipper/Tony who sniff out poachers in South Africa. All these dogs rescue individuals in physical trauma. Ricochet, on the other paw, rescues people from emotional trauma, such as PTSD.

Moviegoers were touched, and had tears in their eyes while watching the dogs perform their skills on the giant screen. Film reviewer, Courtney Howard from Variety Magazine says “The film’s tear-jerking portion is reserved for Ricochet, a sunshine-loving, surfing Golden Retriever who works as a therapy dog with special-needs children and soldiers with PTSD. Her work, assisting them in overcoming their anxieties and disabilities, demonstrates the ripple effect of helping others”. The entire review can be read at:
https://variety.com/2019/film/reviews/superpower-dogs-review-imax-1203163880/.
The film, narrated by Chris Evans (Captain America), takes audiences on an immersive IMAX® adventure around the globe to experience the life-saving superpowers and extraordinary bravery of some of the world’s most amazing dogs. These remarkable dogs save lives through rescue missions, emotional support, and sniffing out crime.
Ricochet’s sequence showcases how she balances boards… and lives! It focuses on her ability to enrich the well-being of veterans with PTSD and children with special needs through the healing power of the ocean, and the healing power of a dog.
Ricochet’s emotional healing is told through the experiences of her co-stars, Staff Sergeant Persons B. Griffith IV Ret (Griff), a Marine combat veteran with PTSD, and Jodi Powell, the mother of seven year old Logan who has sensory processing disorder.
As Griff and Logan interact, it becomes clear how much more alike they are than different. This young boy and this marine… held hostage by their inner turmoil. They both battle an invisible challenge. Movie goers saw the subtle and not so subtle behaviors Ricochet uses to communicate Griff’s physical or emotional distress. This interaction helps Griff identify deep seated emotional trauma that he describes as Ricochet’s soul vision.
Every 65 minutes a veteran with PTSD takes their life by suicide! “It is because of these staggering statistics that Ricochet is participating in the film”, said Judy Fridono, Ricochet’s guardian. Fridono has started a campaign to shed more light on military war heroes who are suffering in silence, and how dogs can help in their recovery.
Katherine Schwarzenegger was at the L.A. premiere, raising awareness of animal rescue and pet adoption.
Director, Daniel Ferguson said Ricochet’s sequence was the most challenging to make, but well worth the effort.
All the “extras” were kids, families and the water team that have been on Ricochet’s journey since the beginning. 3D cameras and computer graphics were utilized so audiences can experience the world through the eyes, ears, and nose of a dog.
Ricochet with her co-star Griff. Ricochet and Griff met through a six-week canine therapy clinic provided by Paws’itive Teams, and Naval Medical Center San Diego’s Wounded, Ill and Injured Wellness Program. After the clinic ended, Griff volunteered for Ricochet’s Waves of Empowerment program, an initiative that connects veterans and kids through the challenges they face… taking them from the battleground to the playground.
Each veteran becomes a mentor, and is paired one-on-one with a child for a day of canine-assisted surf therapy and emotional healing. It has been found that being of service to another individual provides a sense of self-worth. To that end, Griff gains new purpose by mentoring and encouraging Logan to overcome his fears of the ocean by surfing with Ricochet. Logan also benefits by gaining his own personal military hero, and he becomes more confident, social and of course, empowered!
Because the filmmakers were able to capture raw emotion from Griff, and corresponding behaviors from Ricochet, you’ll be able to see how she acted like a mirror, reflecting back his feelings, while exhibiting empathy and intuition. This is how she detects and alerts to his triggers, anxiety and stress. You’ll also see how she took responsibility for Griff, and prevented him from going in to situations that were overwhelming for him. She was able to avert panic attacks, melt downs and other anxiety provoking behavior.
10 years ago, Ricochet jumped on the board of Patrick Ivison, a 14 year old boy who is quadriplegic (he makes a cameo in the film). Since then, she has surfed with hundreds of kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors & veterans with PTSD.
Although surfing has been at the forefront of Ricochet’s work, it’s not just the act of surfing that makes her interactions so life changing. It’s her powerful ability to make immediate soul-to-soul connections with the individuals she interacts with.
The L.A. premiere included a red (black) carpet where cast members, dogs, producers and director came from as far as Italy.
Ricochet also hosted a reception and private screening on Thursday, March 14th at the Fleet Science Center in San Diego.
The film was written and directed by Daniel Ferguson (on the floor!) and produced by Taran Davies, George Duffield and Dominic Cunningham-Reid.
Director, Daniel Ferguson holds up his Paw’cademy Award presented to him by Ricochet before he introduced the film to the audience.
There is also a companion Superpower Dogs picture book, and Ricochet’s pawtobiography book. Both can be found on Amazon.com, or https://www.lbyr.com/titles/none/superpower-dogs/9780316453592/for a list of retailers who carry the Superpower Dogs book.
The IMAX film opened to the general public on March 15th at IMAX, giant screen and digital cinemas in museums, science centers and other cultural institutions worldwide. Theater listings can also be found on https://superpowerdogs.com/find-a-theater/
“I just hope Ricochet’s sequence will be the catalyst that gives hope to veterans with PTSD who are suffering in silence or contemplating suicide, as well as anyone else who is faced with emotional, physical or cognitive challenges”, said Fridono.
Fridono believes all dogs have these healing powers. Unfortunately, we often misinterpret their cues as bad behavior. In doing so, we miss the magic every dog is capable of. Her hope is that others will gain a better understanding of the sentience of dogs, and how they are always communicating with us… we just have to listen.

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