Last Week on Inked Brownies

Review: Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with the Dog Who Inspires Millions by Judy Fridono & Kay Pfaltz


Paperback, 312 pages
Published May 5th, 2015 by Hci (first published May 6th2014

Months ago (I’m too embarrassed to tell you when exactly), Judy sent me a physical (!) copy of her book. It was meant for taking it with me to the beach this summer, yet with my father’s illness and my personal shitefest going on, I never made it to a beach. Luckily, my husband bought a saltwater + heating system for our modest pool, and so, in the midst of a heatwave, I managed to finally read this last week with the proper atmosphere* around me. And since it’s officially still summer here today, I’m not too late with telling you all about this book!

* I’m making it sound like this can only be read during summer which is obviously not the case ;).


Ride the wave of hope with Ricochet the only SURFice dog in the world who chose her own purpose! She surfs with children with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors, and veterans with PTSD as an assistive aid and intuitive muse, healing hearts and souls on every wave.

This tears-to-triumph story takes readers behind the TV and video sensation and shares the true journey that went from promise to disappointment before ultimately finding life’s purpose. The gorgeous golden retriever Ricochet seemed destined to be a service dog from the moment she was born. She approached her training with boundless energy and surpassed every other dog in her Puppy Prodigy training class. Unfortunately, her love for chasing birds could prove dangerous, for those she would assist. Fifteen months into her training, Ricochet was released, leaving a frustrated owner and a dog without a direction. Yet through a twist of fate, Judy realized that flunking out of school wasn’t the end of the world and in fact, could be the beginning of a new one. Once Judy learned to let go and let Ricochet be who she really was, they found her true calling as a SURFice dog.
Ricochet’s story is one of synchronicity, our interconnectedness, and opening ourselves to life’s ‘paws’ibilities. Embracing her true calling, Ricochet began to help others, including those with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress, and physical disabilities, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable causes and inspiring people to believe in themselves. Ricochet does more than steady the board: she offers hope, comfort, healing, and a reason to keep fighting.

What gives this story such extraordinary potential to become a publishing sensation? Ricochet is the only SURFice dog in the world, there is no other story quite like it!


This is one tough book to review as a book. And by that, I mean I’d have to look at the writing style, the ‘story’ and whatnot, and then give it a rating accordingly. However, I can’t and won’t do that on my blog because this isn’t just a book. It’s the story of an amazing dog, amazing people, and how there’s no such thing as coincidence. You just can’t attach a rating to that! So instead, let me try and get you acquainted with Judy and Ricochet. Starting off with this YouTube video which says so much more than I will ever be able to express in words.

The book tells us the ‘complete’ journey of Judy and Ricochet so far. It starts with Judy’s troubled adolescence, the loss of her loved ones, illnesses…basically a whole lot of suffering. And then she decides to do something amazing: sign up for training a service dog.

Now here’s a bit of a personal story for ya (from me, Anne *waves*). We got our dog when he was 1.5 years old and had already gone through 8 owners before us. Sure, he had some issues we needed to work on together, but nothing major which would explain his abundance of previous owners. No dog deserves to go through something like that, and it made him very insecure about pretty much everything. The first time we went on a stay over trip at my in-laws, we packed up his stuff and put it in the car. The poor wee thing was shaking in a corner of the house with his tail between his legs, thinking he’d be shipped off to yet another new family.

When we decided he needed training to get his confidence back and for us to build a better bond with him, we searched for trainers in our area. The first two we went to made me feel SO uncomfortable. Choking collars, yelling and punishing seemed to be the way to get your dog to obey. I have never hurt any of my animals intentionally, so this was not the way to go.

We watched a lot of Ceasar Milano during the first month as well because hey, he’s the expert right?! I didn’t want to admit it right away but watching him work with those dogs also made me feel very uncomfortable. It’s like turning them into mindless zombies by using intimidation. Now it’s all about reenacting the pack life and being the alpha dog but neither my husband nor I wanted that. A dog should be a companion, not a docile creature who never misbehaves because he’s terrified of you. It’s how I stumbled upon positive reinforcement, Victoria Stillwell, and a small local training group who used a clicker instead of a torturing collar. It was a wonderful experience and a way better fit with how we want to interact with animals. And it worked (would be hilarious if I said it didn’t work at all now eh)!

So when I read about Judy’s struggle with the dominant type of obedience training with her first service dog, Rina, I knew exactly what she was talking about. The fact that Rina was eventually released from the puppy training program because she was ‘broken’ just intensified this feeling. Reading about how she got back to being a happy dog again by using positive reinforcement made me a happy gal for sure. It’s how Ricochet was trained as well and you can see how much it influenced her by looking at her independent, lovable spirit.

The story of Ricochet is one of spirituality, of how everything and everyone is connected. It’s about how life is a sacred journey and whenever you’re wondering why you’ve had to endure so much struggle or heartache, it’s to get right to the point where you’re supposed to be; everything happens for a reason.

“If we go into a forest on a trail that’s already been cleared, it’s the one true sign we’re not on our own path. If you follow someone else’s entry, you’re on someone else’s path. To discover who we really are, we need to find out own path.”

In the book, we get to read about Ricochet’s encounters with people with disabilities, children with autism, veterans suffering from PTSD, and cancer patients (just to name a few). She managed to connect with them all instantly and make them break free of any sort of physical or mental barrier, if only just for the moment. I definitely shed a few tears here and there while reading about it, but also after reading up on what happened afterwards.

For instance, I saw that Caleb, a 15-year-old boy with brain cancer, and with the brightest most genuine smile I’ve ever seen, passed away shortly after the part where the book ends. 16785_373563446157189_5996833506990390815_n

And then there’s sweet Rina, who passed away on Memorial Day, 2016. I bawled my eyes out when I heard it. This picture of her is currently entered in the Woof Pup contest HERE. It would mean the world to Judy if Rina wins this one.


All that rests me to say about this book now is that if you’re a dog lover, or want to read an inspiring and sometimes heartbreaking pawtobiography, you should definitely dive into the story of Ricochet. It sometimes got a little too spiritual for me and during the end of the book, there was a lot of repetitiveness going on, but still, this was an amazing journey. A percent of book sales will go to Ricochet’s causes fund to help humans and animals in need.

Now with all this seriousness, I need to add my signature by sharing this final quote.

“I smiled as I watched him hand her a piece of bratwurst, which she happily gobbled.”

You can find a lot more on Ricochet and Judy on their:


I’m a fan!

A massive thank you and high paw to Judy Fridono for sending me a copy all the way from the US!

 Untitled design (1)

Links to the book:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
The Book Depository (Dutch Retailer)

About Anne (231 Articles)
Dutch book reviewer who reviews in English. Grammar nazis beware!! I like brownies. And chamomile tea.

43 Comments on Review: Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with the Dog Who Inspires Millions by Judy Fridono & Kay Pfaltz

  1. omg, Kleenex alert is right… just reading your review and watching the video had me tearing up and my boss was looking at me like o_O…
    I have no doubt this is a wonderful book and all this work for such a wonderful cause… In the video I really liked the universally recognized ‘phrase’- focus on what someone can do rather than can’t.

    high fives for finishing the review with a fitting quote 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha, oh noes, sorry about that! ;D It’s unbelievable how these people got back on track because they felt like finding a soulmate in that dog. I’m all for furry friends and comforting :). No judgement and shit. And yeah, I like that focus as well! Haha! high fives! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow. This sounds like a book I need to read, even if it brings tears. Great review :).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rashthedoctor // 20/09/2016 at 17:43 // Reply

    I have been waiting for you to review this ever since I saw you finished reading it on Goodreads, I love Dogs and I love there stories , I don’t own a dog anymore ever since my old Dog passed away 10 years back and whenever I see a dog movie or read about dogs it makes me emotional , I wanted this book to be good and I’m happy to hear you like it , the YouTube video was awesome as well, gonna read this book next for sure 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh my blushes. What kind of dog did you have? And I guess getting a new dog as a resident is a no-go zone? It’s a sentimental book but with the focus on how much understanding animals have that we can’t even begin to comprehend. You sure should! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • rashthedoctor // 20/09/2016 at 21:32 // Reply

        it was a local mixed breed that my Dad saved as a pup .

        I can definitely not spend enough time with a dog as a resident , but it’s more to do with the fact that the Death hit me and my dad hard (it hit my Dad harder really) , we just decided that we would never get another pet , just because we can’t take any more sadness

        Liked by 1 person

        • awwe, I see what you mean there. it was definitely a factor when I made the decision to get animals again. the grief is just unbearable. I have a special cat, who’s been abandoned in a ditch when he was just a kitten and has been suffering from chronic respiratory disease ever since. I took him in when he was 11 months old and he’s like a puppy, really, so affectionate and travels on my neck with me when I go out. but with him being sick so often (plus he’s 8 years old now) I often lie awake at night worrying about him :/. pros and cons!

          Liked by 1 person

          • rashthedoctor // 21/09/2016 at 14:43 // Reply

            Just thinking how horrible can someone be to leave a poor thing in a ditch 😟

            Meanwhile, massive respect to you for caring for animals so much 👏👏👏

            Liked by 1 person

            • I don’t want to know who these people are or I don’t think I’d be able to contain myself -.- . Cheers! high fives 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

      • rashthedoctor // 20/09/2016 at 21:33 // Reply

        bought the kindle edition already , probably will read it next

        Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG Anne! And I start my morning off teary eyed. What a wonderful, heartfelt review dear. I am not sure I could have put one like this together. Simply fantastic. I am sure the book is lovely and full of feels. I am in no state right now, I would probably blubber for days. Love the ending quote girl 😉

    I am also happy to learn I am not the only one who felt this way about Ceasar Milano 😦 My BF watched a few episodes and I kept telling him it seemed off… I work in a n environment centered around pets. We have dogs in daily. I do not appreciate intimidation. I am so happy you found the right solution for your beautiful dog.

    Again, beautiful review ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m sawwy! Thank you :). (there ain’t no party like a sausage party and Ricochet knows that too 😉 ).
      Milano’s work IS off (or used to be at least). Walking next to their owner like a pooped out zombie does not look natural to me at all. My dog still pulls on the leash occasionally, but I’d rather have that than a spiritless fluff monster walking next to me like a child that has had way too much Ritalin. Intimidation is for bullies. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Dogs are great companions and have magic powers. It seems like such a wonderful story! I’d be blabbering for sure by the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review! And praise for the sausage quote at the end, a little bit of humour. 🙂

    Hell No to choke chains, yelling and shouting, so wrong, so so wrong! I got my dog from a rescue centre, she was about one and a half years old to, would never shout at or use a choke chain.

    Dogs are part of the family. 🙂

    And, yeah, no sarcasm from me in this comment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad we’re on the same page there fist bumps. They’re family indeed, and you (as in someone) wouldn’t put a choke chain on your child either! My dog’s really sensitive and yelling at him would be unthinkable. I know most border collies are very sensitive as well :).

      Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, and thank you for the praise of course 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this! Thanks for the review, and I agree, books like this can’t be reviewed in the “normal” way. I will make sure I come back and watch the video during my lunchtime. I hope it doesn’t make me cry!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow- I’m glad the positive reinforcement worked! And you’re dog was very cute- I’m sorry she passed away

    Liked by 2 people

  9. What an inspiring story – that I cannot read. If I read that I will drown in a sea of my own tears 😥
    I’m a sissy! I already could have cried when I read the part about your own dog being terrified to be taken to yet another family 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  10. That video was powerful…I actually smiled when I saw the dog surf! I was thinking originally of a dog forced to surf to make others happy…and I felt bad for the poor animal: until I saw how much he seems to love it! The fact that he can do such amazing things makes me know that animals are special and should be treated as such.
    My Toby (Shit-Tsu) was dirty and underfed with an ear infection when I got him. A friend of mine was trying to SELL him on FB for $200! I told her I would take him, and get him shots and neutered, if she gave him to me for free. Once she realized no one was going to pay that much for an animal that needed so much money put into him, she agreed. He’s wonderful now: fat and happy and loves walks. He’s clean and only had an ear infection because he gets allergies, but she thought he had ear mites, so she gave him medicine in his ears he didn’t need! We stopped talking when she asked about him, and called him by his old name (he was under a year old with the name “Dewey” and I hated the name), and I told her I renamed him Toby. She flipped out and said that the only thing that made her ok with giving him to me was that she wanted him to stay named Dewey. I was thinking, “I took the dog. He was a puppy who didn’t even know his name! He was filthy and underfed…and you want to be mad I changed his NAME??” So yeah, we lost contact. Though before we did I told her I would keep his name the same, just to make her happy. She doesn’t need to know if it’s going to make her miserable that I changed his name.
    So that’s my dog rescue story. Not much, but I love him. And he’s only two now, so I have a long time with him. I was never a dog person before…but I am one for Toby. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story about Toby <3. I’m sorry to say this but GOOD RIDDANCE when it comes to your former friend. Jeez, what a #$!%! >.> I’m very glad he ended up staying with you and has turned you into a Toby person ;). Big hugs for him and for you!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great review, of course! I so loved reading all the comments though (loved the Dewey-became-Toby story the best!!). I have so much fun visiting your blog!!

    Liked by 1 person

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