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Surf Dog Helps Veterans Combat PTSD

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Surf Dog Ricochet’s Waves of Empowerment is a collaborative, all-inclusive mentorship and comradeship program made up of military and civilian volunteers. It focuses on the human-canine bond while creating unique surfing and empowerment building activities that unite kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors and military with PTSD.

Every 65 minutes a veteran with PTSD takes their life by suicide. That’s 22 lives a day!

Through this unique model, volunteers are determined to reduce these staggering statistics and improve the lives of our physically and emotionally wounded war heroes. To that end, the program provides opportunities that enable them to continue their life of service, and find new purpose by engaging in community service while mentoring and inspiring future generations.

Kids with disabilities are one of the most marginalized and excluded groups in society. The program embraces diversity and inclusion of all kids, regardless of their ability. In addition to participating, the program encourages kids to volunteer in whatever capacity they’re comfortable with. Waves of Empowerment finds that being of service to another individual gives them a sense of responsibility and self-worth.

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We’re all warriors fighting some kind of battle that links us together through the challenges we face. We come together as equals in a safe, caring environment where empowerment is nurtured through surfing, recreation and play. Isolation and social anxiety are replaced with inter-connection and trusting friendships… all built in a playground of transformation!

The program includes:

Buddy-up Mentors: Buddy-up Mentors can be military or civilian, adults or children, able-bodied or disabled. They are matched one-on-one with new participants for a day of surfing and/or land based activities.

StandUP with a Warrior: Empowers military service members as they continue their life of service and find new purpose by helping kids with special needs through stand up paddle boarding (SUP) and other activities.

Playing with Purpose: Empowers diverse populations who are brought together with the common goal of empowering each other. Play is facilitated by our therapy dogs, service dogs and emotional support dogs.

Give Kids a Voice: Empowers kids who feel they don’t have a voice due to emotional challenges like being bullied, having a childhood illness, undergoing a custody battle, etc. We create an atmosphere where their input is valued and regarded as they are given ownership of specific tasks.

Operation Socialization: Empowers veterans with PTSD as they socialize puppies training to be therapy, emotional support or service dogs. The pups become more comfortable in social situations, as do the veterans.

Paws-On Healing: Empowers everyone who comes in contact with Ricochet! She is like a mirror to those she interacts with, reflecting back their feelings. She’s intuitive, empathic and able to detect and alert to triggers, anxiety, pain or other emotions. She provides comfort on a soul-to-soul level.

If you are an active duty service member or veteran that would like to volunteer, or if you have a disability, PTSD or a child with special needs that would like to surf with Ricochet, please send an email to [email protected].
In addition to our veteran and disabled volunteers, Waves of Empowerment is always looking for water men and women, photographers, videographers, cheerleaders and friends! Just send us an email if you’d like to volunteer in any capacity.
For more information about the program, click here.



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The world can seem like a dark place sometimes. And life can be a little daunting. We feel you and that’s why we exist. A tiny puppy smiling can lighten your heart. Simple tips can lengthen your dog's life. We want to make you smile and help you and your canine live life to the fullest with pawesome content. This blog post may contain affiliate links which may reward us if you make a purchase using it. We use these funds to keep this site and feed the pup :)

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