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SAN DIEGO (August 17, 2015) – Last Wednesday, Ricochet surfed with 17-year-old Savannah and 19-year-old Bellamy Arterburn from Denver, Colorado. They both have the same terminal illness, Friedreich’s ataxia, a debilitating and degenerative neuro-muscular disorder with no treatment or cure. They traveled to San Diego to catch some waves with their favorite canine, as well as experience her paws-on healing.

In the last few years, Bellamy and Savannah have begun losing the ability to move, had several spine surgeries, learned to live with a failing heart and tragically lost their mother to breast cancer. Despite everything they’ve been through, they stay strong, resilient and love everything about life.

When they heard Ricochet is a SURFice dog® who surfs with people with disabilities, kids with special needs, wounded warriors and veterans with PTSD as an assistive aid and paws-on healer, it became their dream to surf with her. But, because of all the hardships this family has endured, they couldn’t afford a trip to San Diego.

So, Ricochet hosted a fundraiser. Within 24 hours, the whole trip was funded! Ricochet’s Facebook fans, Scott and Sharon Brandstadt donated 100,000 Southwest Airline miles. Hotel Indigo, Del Mar donated a room. Ricochet’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram fans sent in cash donations to cover attractions, activities and dining.

On the day of the surf session, Savannah and Bellamy arrived to the beach in wheelchairs. Their excitement was hard to contain. Each sister took a turn being helped from their chair into the ocean, and onto the surfboard by Ricochet’s team of water helpers. Since the sisters have no body strength or muscle control, Ricochet positioned herself behind them to counter-balance the board and keep it afloat.

Their smiles, screams and laughter were filled with exhilaration. “I’ve always wanted to surf and then I found out about Ricochet and it made it more special. It just felt so good, like I was free,” Bellamy said.

Savannah fell in the water once, and exclaimed, “That was so cool. It was actually really exciting.”

This surf session was the epitome of the healing power of the ocean… and the healing power of a dog! Although surfing has been at the forefront of Ricochet’s work, it’s not the act of surfing that makes her interactions so life changing. It’s her powerful paws-on ability to make immediate, deep, heart-to-heart connections with the individuals she interacts with. She intuitively and empathically alerts to their emotional and physical changes, and then provides support and healing energy where it’s most needed.

Ricochet was honored to make Bellamy and Savannah’s dream come true while raising awareness of Friedreich’s ataxia.

For more information, contact Judy Fridono at 707-228-0679 or or visit, or Watch the inspirational video at

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Media Contact:
Judy Fridono

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