Surf dog helps solider heal

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SAN DIEGO – Surf dog Ricochet has stepped into a new role by helping heal veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The 5-year-old Labrador retriever and retired Army medic Randy Dexter met a year ago during the Naval Medical Center of San Diego’s therapy program have become quite a pair.

Ricochet“We made eye contact and she ran right at me it was like she knew me,” said Dexter.

“He walked in and she just darted right to him.  They have been connected ever since,” said Ricochet’s owner Judy Fridono.

In the past, Dexter found it impossible to function in crowded places. Ricochet spent countless hours with him in places like Walmart.  The four legged friend warns him of people coming and going by healing and nudging his leg.

“It is like I have that extra set of eyes, like I have a battle buddy – that is what we call each other in the Army,” Dexter said. “We always have someone by our side and that is what it feels like.”

Fridono wants Ricochet to help more service members suffering from PTSD in hopes they can find healing from a service dog.

“It will give them some exposure to dogs to see how they feel in their presence,” she said.

Dexter plans to get a service dog of his own this summer and in the meantime Ricochet will be by his side.

“I am on a journey and I don’t know how long it will take, if I ever get there,” Dexter said.

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