Judy Fridono, who I’ve featured at my Agricultural Golden Retriever Scent Detection Dog page and on a post with the adorable Halloween costumed Golden Rina, wanted me to publicize a fundraiser in which her Golden would be riding the waves tandem with Patrick Ivison, a 15-year-old spinal cord injured adaptive surfer.
Well, that would be a cinch to merely reproduce Judy’s press release (check it out below). But, the work that she is doing is too fascinating to leave it at that. And, like myself (I have a mixed connective tissue disorder), her charitable endeavors began as a way to make a difference despite adversity.
Due to the pain and degenerative nature of a juvenile rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis in late childhood, Judy was limited in her physical activities. Instead, she channeled her energy into charitable causes. She puppy raised for Canine Companions for Independence and completed (Bergin University’s) Assistance Dog Institute’s A.S. degree program, working with Dr. Bonnie Bergin, the incredible woman who initially originated the concept of the service dog. Judy, who has trained dogs at several service dog organizations, is currently a service dog trainer for Paws’itive Teams, also active with her own service dog through their goal directed therapy program working with children.
Judy, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), is also the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Puppy Prodigies, a Neo-natal and Early Learning Program. Their objective is to provide their “prepped” puppies to owner-trainers, assistance dog, and other canine training organizations with the goal of decreasing the number of dogs that are released from programs due to temperament or behavior issues. As the wait for a service dog can be several years & the cost for training quite high ($25,000 per dog), it is shocking to realize that a fair percentage of dogs in training programs do not graduate. That is why Puppy Prodigies is such an important organization.
- Puppy Prodigies focuses on critical stages of development starting at birth by providing the puppy with structured exercises and experiences such as early stimulation, conditioning, imprinting, habituation, socialization, environment enrichment, and training. The purpose is to condition the puppies so they learn to learn! Learn more Here: Early Learning Focus and Early Learning Program Highlights.
- Puppy Prodigies provides these early trained puppies to organizations and others who need them, which includes but is not limited to assistance dog programs for their puppy raising/training initiatives, medical alert programs, seizure alert/response programs, social therapy programs, scent detection programs, and other career dog programs and individuals who are “owner training” their personal dog for assistance work.
- Puppy Prodigies has a breeder collaboration program in which they work closely with breeders in a effort to produce exceptional puppies who are destined for a future in assistance work.
- Puppy Prodigies whelps litters for other assistance dog programs, as well as breeders who are interested in our early learning program for their entire litter.
- Puppy Prodigies provides continued support once the puppy is placed so that the early learning that was fostered is built upon throughout the puppy’s training journey.
- Puppy Prodigies provides education and training opportunities to breeders, other assistance dog programs, trainers, etc, so they can provide their Neo-natal & Early Learning Program to their litters of puppies.
- Puppy Prodigies charts the success of their efforts since the ultimate goal is to decrease the number of dogs who are released from programs due to temperament or behavior issues. This data also serves as a source of early canine behavior research for their work with other dog behavior professionals.
Judy, like many other Golden owners, has a website for her girl, “Rip Curl Ricki“. Born on January 25, 2008, the 9th puppy in a litter of 10, Ricki was raised as part of Puppy Prodigies with hopes of becoming a service dog. A little too interested in chasing birds and other small animals, her career path changed, and she became a SURFice dog! At 8 weeks of age, in addition to her service dog skills training, Ricki began surf dog training on a boogie board in a kiddie pool. Here is this sweet puppy girl learning how to surf in a kiddie pool at the tender age of 11 to 13 weeks.
Given Judy’s physical limitations, Team Ricki was created to help with taking Ricki in the water to surf, attend practices, accompany her to contests, give surfing advice, help with fundraising, take pictures/video at events, and more. If you would like to get involved, unleash the fun, and be part of Team Ricki, please send an email to email@example.com or call (707) 228-0679. Judy is really in need of a strong guy in the San Diego area who can take Ricki out in the water to practice and for competitions.
Ricki is the youngest surFUR on the San Diego Dog Surfing Association Team, and is also a member of the Golden SurFURS team, which is composed of all Golden Retrievers! Check out the Golden SurFURS below.
Although still a novice, now each time Ricki surfs in competitions, she has a personal mission called “Surfin’ for Paws-abilities” which raises money for charitable causes. I do hope you visit her site and check out this mission so that you can donate.
Surf Dog Contest Winner Carves New Waves as She Tandem Surfs with 15-year-old Spinal Cord Injured Adaptive Surfer
SAN DIEGO, CA, August 14, 2009…”Rip Curl Ricki,” a local golden retriever surf contest winner, will be taking to the waves next Thursday, August 20, to learn a new skill: surfing tandem with Patrick Ivison, a 15-year-old spinal cord injured adaptive surfer. “Ricochet” (as she is known on land) has been surfing since she was a puppy, and has always been part of surfing fundraising efforts for great causes. The newest project for Ricochet, however, presents a unique and exciting challenge: training to surf tandem with Patrick Ivison, who suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of an accident when he was only 14 months old. Patrick was diagnosed quadriplegic, but he is able to surf using an adaptive surfboard.
In addition to accomplishing a tandem surf ride with a person with limited physical abilities (rarely, if ever done), Ricochet will use her surf training next week to prepare for upcoming surf competitions/fundraisers for Patrick.
Although Patrick has excelled through the years in both school and adaptive sports (adaptive surfing is his specialty), he recently decided that having a service dog would help him achieve greater independence as he approaches his college years. Paws’itive Teams, a local non-profit organization that places service dogs with persons with disabilities, caught wind of Patrick’s story and matched him with a golden retriever named Kona.
Patrick also participates in an intense physical therapy program funded through Help Patrick Walk, which helps him build strength by exercising parts of his body he can’t move or control on his own. Since starting his therapy, Patrick has been able to do things he never thought he could.
Although Patrick has excelled through the years in both school and adaptive sports (adaptive surfing is his specialty), he recently decided that having a service dog would help him achieve greater independence as he approaches his college years.
Paws’itive Teams, a local non-profit organization that places service dogs with persons with disabilities, caught wind of Patrick’s story and matched him with a golden retriever named Kona.
The costs of training a service dog, and specialized physical therapy are steep, however – that’s where Ricochet’s knack for surfing and fundraising comes in. Ricochet will be carving waves in San Diego for the next several weeks to prepare for the Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf-a-thon in Del Mar on September 13, 2009 as well as the Surf City Surf Dog event in Huntington Beach on October 11, where she hopes to share a wave with Patrick.
Patrick is an official beneficiary for the Surf City Surf Dog contest, and the proceeds donated to Ricochet through her fundraising efforts will go directly to Paws’itive Teams, and Help Patrick Walk, for the sole purpose of easing the financial burden on Patrick and his family.
Note: If you’d like to volunteer, get involved, make a donation, or become a sponsor, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Judy Fridono at (707) 228-0679.
If you are lucky enough to be a Californian, do be sure to go out to see these fun competitions. It’s always fun for the surfers to hear their names chanted while they are carving out some waves (pom-poms optional!)
Sept 13, 2009 to benefit Patrick’s intense PT at Project walk
Ricki will be surfing in the large dog category of Del Mar’s Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf-a-thon, surfing as many waves as she can catch in a 20 minute time-frame. She hopes to catch about 6-7 waves. The contest is judged/scored on the length of ride, and how many waves are caught.
Oct 11, 2009 to benefit Patrick’s Golden service dog Kona
Ricki will be surfing in the large dog category in Huntington Beach’s Surf City Surf Dog competition, surfing as many waves as she can catch in a 15 minute time-frame. She hopes to catch 5-6 waves. the contest is judged/scored on the length of ride.
Remember, you can donate for Patrick’s continuing physical therapy through the “Help Patrick Walk” fund which supports his ongoing treatment at Project Walk, and/or for his service dog Kona from Pawsitive Teams.
Just go to “Surfin’ for Paws-abilities” or click on the Donate Now button.
Come meet lots of Golden surfing dogs and learn more about this new fun sport that is taking root all over the nation. Just click here.