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Ricochet the Surf Dog takes final wave amid health challenges

It's the final surf for one therapy dog. For 13 years Ricochet the surf dog has done just that. She's assisted special needs children and wounded veterans in surfing

SAN DIEGO — Paddling out to catch some waves at La Jolla Shores, "Ricochet the Surf Dog" is living up to her name. Riding the wave with her is U.S. Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient Jose Martinez, who lost both his legs and one arm after stepping on a bomb in Afghanistan in 2012. 

Ricochet helped Martinez recover by getting him in the water.

The therapy and service dog has a rich history of helping humans in need. CBS 8 caught her very first assisted-surf in 2009 when she counterbalanced the board for a 14-year-old boy with a spinal cord injury.

"Being the first dog that ever served with somebody who is disabled to assist them is pretty much her legacy. She makes deep connections, and she heals so many people,” said Judy Fridono, the Puppy Prodigies executive director.

Now, as the surf dog turns 14 and a half, she's slowing down.

"She's getting a lot older now, so unfortunately she has not been wanting to surf a lot more like she used to,” Martinez said.

Ricochet was recently diagnosed with kidney disease, has a mass on her liver, and arthritis in her spine after years of surfing.

WATCH RELATED: Change It Up: Ricochet the Surf Dog and owner honored for work in San Diego (July 2019).

"14.5 for a Golden Retriever is really good,” Fridono said.

Not staying down for too long Ricochet does just that, she rebounds and gets back on a board for what could be her last time surfing.

"It could be her last wave, so we wanted to get it documented,” Fridono said.

Martinez stayed on the board as Ricochet rode shotgun for their final time together.

"I was pretty much told I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, so for me to be able to help out the dog that helped me kickstart my surfing career and my surfing life, it is just as if I am filling her cup up as much as she is filling mine up,” Martinez said.

Martinez ranked number one by the International Surf Association prone assist division, and it is his dream to participate in the Paralympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028 saying “being able to represent the USA in a different form would be awesome for me.”

WATCH RELATED: Ricochet the surfing therapy dog helps triple amputee combat veteran (July 2021).

    

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