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Surfing therapy dog makes house calls to kids & veterans!

June 4, 2020 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

Ricochet, a certified therapy dog and champion surf dog has added “curbside comfort” to her ever-growing Covid-19 canine therapy program. But this time, she’s actually making in-person house calls and going back to the beach to physically interact with individuals one-on-one!Ricochet has been offering FREE virtual canine therapy since the pandemic started. But there’s nothing like the connection, comfort and healing she provides when engaging with an individual in person.

Because of social distancing, people have been missing hugs and physical touch for months… and so has Ricochet. ​Both need physical interaction to thrive. Isolation is creating great physical, psychological and emotional distress.

So now that states are reducing restrictions and opening back up, Ricochet’s guardian and handler, Judy Fridono did research, received guidance from a veterinarian and thought long and hard about resuming Ricochet’s essential in-person canine therapy work that benefits people greatly.
​”If Ricochet continues to isolate, we are afraid she will shut down and check out. If individuals don’t receive physical interaction, they could fall into depression, anxiety, stress, fear, sadness, lonliness, PTSD, experience other mental health issues or become suicidal. So, we have concluded that the benefit outweighs the risk. This is a personal decision based on the best interest of Ricochet and those who need her,” said Fridono.

Ricochet visits one-on-one with an individual or members of the same family outside their home or on the beach. As they pet, hug and cuddle her, she provides the physical and emotional closeness that social distancing hasn’t allowed. Her calm demeanor of comfort and support afford a person’s emotions to be safely released as they are spun into a cocoon of positive energy.​ She also engages in eye contact which is an anxiety-reducing technique. Gazing into a dog’s eyes stimulates the release of oxytocin—a hormone associated with positive, happy feelings. Cultivating these moments allows for deep experiences of physical and emotional connection and healing.

This initiative was established with safety protocols as the number one priority for Ricochet, her handler, and everyone she interacts with. The virus is not transmitted from dogs to humans, and although there has been a handful of animals that tested positive for corona because their owners had covid-19, it is rare. The virus is spread from person to person. As such, the safety criteria includes individuals maintaining social distancing of six feet and wearing a mask and gloves. To read all the safety criteria, and to schedule a session, please go to https://www.surfdogricochet.com/curbsidecomfort.html.

The other multi-faceted components of Ricochet’s Covid-19 canine therapy include:

Virtual canine therapy program – A web page that has close-up photos of her eyes coupled with calming music which releases oxytocin in the brain and reduces anxiety. Hundreds of individuals who have visited the page have reported they felt a calm, connected state of being.

Video conferencing – Uses apps such as Zoom, FaceTime and Skype. These sessions are offered to families who lost a loved one to Covid-19, doctors, nurses, frontline workers and anyone else suffering a loss or feeling stressed and anxious.

Paws on Learning activities – Video conferencing for children of all ages. Kids can talk to Ricochet while doing activities like reading to her, coloring pictures of her, teaching her tricks, show & tell, boredom busting, Q&A’s and more. Kids can interact with Ricochet from the safety of their own home!

Distance learning: The healing power of dogs – A series of three Zoom sessions on the healing power of dogs. Attendees will discover the unique and instinctive gifts and abilities that dogs possess. They’ll learn how dogs can help with depression, stress, anxiety, PTSD and more.

Ricochet has been a certified therapy dog and surf dog since 2009. She provides human-animal intervention for veterans and active duty service members recovering from combat PTSD, moral injury, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. She also works with kids on the autism spectrum and other special needs, differently abled individuals, wounded warriors, adaptive surfers, doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, essential workers, teachers, students and more.

Ricochet’s canine therapy will support individuals NOW, as well as into the future. But, she needs your help to reach those who need her services. Please share this information and the program with your followers. Let’s help the world at large take a few minutes to breathe and decompress… Lets reduce anxiety and prevent suicide… through the healing power of a dog. To learn more about pets, visit Petside.com

Ricochet thanks you for your support.

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