Ricochet is a Surf Dog who did not fit the requirements of a regular Service Dog training program. However, thanks to her trainer she was able to provide assistance in a new and stimulating way. Her talent rendered surfing accessible to people with disabilities.
The following story is a tribute to undermined talents and to those excluded from standardized educational programs.
The Value Of Talents And Uniqueness
If we tried to define talent, it would be difficult not to find ourselves associating the word “intelligence” with the ability to understand, and defining “aptitude or competence” as a special ability to perform a profession. Talent is present in all living beings, making them unique, and sometimes even serving as a tool for survival. Talented are those who have the combination of skills to achieve and display a superior performance in a particular occupation or subject. For many, this is a special gift that is given to us to develop and share in the benefit of ourselves and others.
The story told in the video below, is a tribute to undermined talents. Ricochet was trained to be a service dog. Despite her great capacity to learn, she was excluded from the program because she could not control her instinct to chase birds, a real problem in a service dog. However, Ricochet had a unique ability that would forever change her life as well as that of many others.
The education system tends to establish homogeneous programs and standardized expectations, leaving no room for discovering and encouraging the development of our talents, which can sometimes results in the establishment of different barriers to learning. Sometimes, those who do not meet the expectations of homogenous programs are excluded from them.
A Surf Dog In Training
Ricochet would not be an ordinary service dog, so her trainer put her own teaching talent to test in order to uncover that special ability which could make the dog achieve her maximum potential. Thanks to her trainer, she was able to combine her service dog training with the ability to surf and assist people with special needs in a different, non-standardized way. It allowed her to act as an Assistance Dog helping to balance the surfboard and as a therapy dog helping children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ricochet’s special talent gave many people the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful sport, overcoming limitations and making them know that anything is possible.
Her work continues out of the water, since she participates in charitable events. For instance, she helped raise funds to support therapies and treatments for people with disabilities, such as Patrick Ivison a quadriplegic young surfer featured in the video below.
This story shows that despite the technical analysis, theories and methods applied to teaching, talent remains largely disregarded by all standards, challenging us to find what ability makes any person unique and help them become who they are really meant to be.
You are invited to enjoy this wonderful story. Warning, have a box of tissues handy. You might need it.
How To Discover Your Dog’s Unique Healing Talent – Interview with Judy Fridono, Surf Dog Ricochet’s Trainer