Pawsitive Tales

Sharing heartwarming tales of animals and their humans.

Judy and Ricochet — March 13, 2023

Judy and Ricochet

~ Judy and Ricochet ~

In 2008, Ricochet took her first breath in Judy’s hands. Since then, they have formed an incredible bond and have made a difference in the lives of millions. 

Fifteen years ago, Judy was helping to deliver a litter of ten Golden Retriever pups from a dog named Josie. She had planned to keep a female puppy, but most of them were boys. Right before As Josie gave birth to the ninth pup of the litter, Judy looked at Josie and said, “Make the next one a girl with a tuft of white fur on her chest.” The ninth puppy turned out to be just that! Judy knew it was meant to be and named her Ricochet.

Initially, Ricochet was meant to be a mobility service dog for a person with a disability. She was great but when she was 16 weeks old, she didn’t want to train anymore. She also had a high prey chase drive which would be dangerous for a handler with a physical disability.

At 15 months old, Ricochet was released from the service dog role. One day at the

beach, Ricochet made an independent decision to jump onto the board of a 14-year-old

boy with a spinal cord injury. He was an adaptive surfer and Ricochet kept him from falling off the board. She became the first-ever canine-assisted surf therapy dog that same day in 2009.

Ricochet is also a certified therapy dog. She helps many people. From soldiers struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to children with disabilities, Ricochet is an extremely intuitive dog and makes deep soul-to-soul connections with the individuals she works with.

Every time Ricochet helps someone or is asked to be part of an event or something else, Judy learns just how powerful a healer she is. Knowing that her canine companion is changing and saving the lives of many people from all walks of life teaches her more about the healing power of all dogs. As well as helping others, Ricochet is quite a talented surfer and enjoys surfing with children with disabilities as well as adaptive surfers and is a sponsor and supporter of the USA Para Surfing Team, a triple amputee veteran and AmpSurf.

Through the amazing work she does, Ricochet has had many media appearances, including the Oprah Winfrey Network, People Magazine, The Today Show and many, many more. Recently, she has even had a starring role in an IMAX film titled ‘Superpower Dogs’ which is now playing in cinemas and has published a book called ‘Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with the Dog Who Inspires Millions’. On top of all this, she has also received many awards, from the ‘American Humane Society Hero Dog’ award, to the ‘American Red Cross Hero’ award and many others!

Not a day goes by that Ricochet doesn’t impact someone’s life. If anyone is feeling anxious or experiences a trigger, she always senses this and will ensure it’s communicated to Judy so the individual can be helped on a soul level. Sadly, she has some health problems at the moment, but she still enjoys helping and supporting others. Millions of people have been touched by Ricochet’s healing loving nature, both in person and online.

As well as all this, Ricochet is part of the non-profit, ‘Puppy Prodigies’ that Judy founded. Through this, Judy and those who support her organisation train puppies to be assistance dogs, emotional support dogs, therapy dogs and pet dogs just like Ricochet. Ricochet has also raised over $1 million dollars for human and animal causes. She had a video go viral with over 6.6 million views on YouTube called “From Service Dog to SURFice dog” She has had a huge impact on Judy’s life and brings endless learning opportunities each and every day. 

The impact that Ricochet has had on those who have met her has been immeasurable. She has changed and saved many lives by balancing boards, and balancing lives!

Aleisha and Jerry — December 21, 2022

Aleisha and Jerry

~ Aleisha and Jerry ~

Over a year ago, Aleisha welcomed Golden Retriever pup, Jerry, into her life. Since then, they have become the best of friends and improve each other’s lives hugely. 

Aleisha and her partner, Steve, had been discussing getting a furry friend for quite a while. In 2021, they had heard about a litter of puppies who were looking for homes. Aleisha thought that one pup in particular, named Jerry, was adorable and a perfect fit for their family. Soon, he was on a plane and on his way to his new home. Once he arrived and Aleisha opened the crate, she called his name and he looked up. At that moment, Aleisha knew it was truly meant to be.

Having Jerry has had a huge impact on Aleisha. Each day is full of adventure. Whether exploring a new park or beach or simply going for a walk around the block, they love having this time to just enjoy each other’s company. Growing up, Aleisha was often around dogs, however, Jerry is a lot more independent than other dogs. This makes their time together even more special, when Jerry decides to snuggle with Aleisha or give her a big doggie kiss.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Jerry helped Aleisha immensely. It was a stressful time and, as a midwife, she was afraid of what the pandemic might mean for her job. With Jerry, he brought endless joy, laughter and love to each day and helped her get through this challenging time. Because of him, she would look forward to every day and, even now, Jerry wakes his human up by laying beside her in bed until she gets up. 

The bond that Aleisha and Jerry share is truly special. No matter what happens, they know they have each other and for they, they are very grateful. Every day is made better simply because they have one another. 

Alex and Appa — January 24, 2022

Alex and Appa

~ Alex and Appa ~

Almost two years ago, Alex adopted Golden Retriever pup, Appa. In the time since, they have formed such a lovely bond. 

In April of 2020, Alex wanted to adopt a dog. She had always wanted a furry friend and felt it was the right time. She soon heard of a litter of Golden Retriever puppies. She instantly fell in love with one of the pups. He was shy but also very cuddly. Alex decided he was the one and so adopted him and named him Appa. 

Having Appa has had a huge impact on Alex. Being a medical school student can be stressful. It can be very challenging at times. During these times, however, Appa is always there by her side. No matter what, he never fails to brighten her day. 

When Alex has been studying all day, Appa encourages her to take a break. He reminds her it’s important to stop for a moment and just get some fresh air. This has also been immensely helpful during the Covid-19 pandemic. After being inside and in lockdown, Appa helped Alex to cope better and to feel less alone during the stressful period. 

Not only this, but having Appa has helped Alex have a daily purpose. Knowing that she has to care for another being has helped give her a focus. From feeding, brushing, playing and all his other cares, it has been great for Alex.

The joy and positivity that Appa brings to Alex’s life has been immense. He loves to snuggle with her and play in their backyard or at their local park. He has also inspired Alex to start her own Etsy business – AlexAndAppa. Here, she sells many different products, including bandanas for dogs!

Whatever life may throw at them, Alex and Appa know that they have each other. Appa has brought so much happiness and love into Alex’s life and their bond continues to flourish. 

Charlize and Willow — November 3, 2021

Charlize and Willow

~ Charlize and Willow ~

In 2020, Golden Retriever pup, Willow, found her forever home with Charlize. In the short time they’ve been together, they have become the best of friends. 

Charlize has always loved animals and has wanted a dog for a long time. At the end of last year, she was surprised by a very excited and kind puppy, Willow. She was beyond thrilled to welcome a furry friend into her life. 

With Willow in her life, Charlize has found so much more happiness. When she gets home, she’s always excited to play and walk with Willow. Willow has brought more joy, love and fun into Charlize’s life, as well as the whole family. 

No matter what, Willow always seems to know how to make someone smile. Whether by being her cheeky self or providing snuggles, Willow can brighten anyone’s day simply by being herself. 

Both Charlize and Willow love to spend time together. From training to going for walks, or laying in the sun and curling up. They enjoy just being in the company of one another. 

It is obvious how strong of a bond Charlize and Willow share. They have improved each other’s lives so much. Willow has brought newfound happiness into her humans’ lives and has definitely had an impact on Charlize. 

Riley and Gatsby — September 24, 2021

Riley and Gatsby

~ Riley and Gatsby ~

Five years ago, Riley met Gatsby. Since then, they have become an amazing team and are inseparable. 

Riley struggles with different health conditions that impact her heart and physical mobility. It was because of this, it was suggested that a service dog would be beneficial. Riley immediately began looking into a potential dog. 

Soon enough, she discovered a new litter of Golden Retriever puppies. Riley and her mum went to meet the breeder and the puppies. As soon as they met them, they both set eyes on one puppy, Gatsby, and immediately knew he was the one. Without a doubt, Riley had found her companion. 

Having Gatsby has helped Riley significantly. He helps through his tasks, such as alerting her to an increase in her heart rate, picking up objects she’s dropped, deep pressure therapy, and much more. 

Not only does he help Riley with physical tasks, but Gatsby provides her with companionship and freedom. She trusts him and knows that no matter what, he’s right there for her. During some of Riley’s toughest moments, Gatsby has supported her and encouraged her to continue fighting. 

If Riley is struggling with her mental health, Gatsby helps to keep her grounded and safe. She knows he is always by her side. Their unconditional love for one another has carried them through so much. 

When Gatsby isn’t working, he and Riley love going to the beach. It’s time for them to spend together and to enjoy each other’s company. Gatsby absolutely loves the water and races across the beachfront.

In early 2021, Riley welcomed Golden Retriever puppy, Cheswick, into her life. One day, he will take over Gatsby’s role as a service dog. For now, he is excited to simply be a puppy and is enjoying some basic training. He has definitely settled into his new life with Riley and Gatsby. 

The impact that Gatsby has had on Riley is huge. He has given her freedom, independence, happiness and love. They both have so much love for each other and it’s obvious in how they look at each other. 

Kasy, Nessa and Epione — September 8, 2021

Kasy, Nessa and Epione

~ Kasy, Nessa and Epione ~

Over the last five years, Kasy and her service dogs, Nessa and Epione, have formed a very special bond. They have all helped one another and have each brought joy to the other’s lives.  

Kasy has struggled with some health issues. She had found it difficult to have independence and freedom, as well as doing every day chores. Because of this, it was decided that a service dog would be beneficial for her.  

In 2015, Kasy welcomed Nessa into the world. Kasy helped deliver Nessa and from that moment, she knew they were meant to be together. She fell in love instantly, and from there, a special bond began to form.   

Having Nessa by her side has had such an impact on Kasy’s life. Together, they’ve gone through a lot, but because of each other, they’ve gotten through it. Nessa flourished as Kasy’s service dog. Because of the bond they already had, they found mutual trust and comfort in one another.  

There have been many times that Nessa has saved Kasy. She has been able to easily recognise when Kasy needs help. Nessa lets Kasy know if she needs to rest, help aid her if she experiences a dizzy spell, guiding her to somewhere safe when in the community, and more.  

As a result of Nessa’s support, Kasy’s life has changed immensely. She now has more independence and confidence in life. No matter what, Nessa is always ready by her side to offer comfort and security for her human. She has truly had a huge impact on Kasy’s life and wellbeing, something that she was unsure she would ever have. 

In late 2020, Kasy welcomed a second dog into their home, Epione. Kasy had heard of a new litter being born in October of that year. As Nessa would soon be retiring, she felt that this new litter might hold her next service dog. When the litter would have been 8 weeks old, Kasy went to meet them in person. One puppy in particular stood out, Epione. From that moment, she found her forever home.  

While Epione is still learning about being a service dog, she has already helped Kasy a lot. She reminds her to take things slowly and to appreciate the small things. In the short amount of time they’ve been together, they’ve certainly created a strong bond.  

When off duty, Kasy, Nessa and Epione enjoy simply spending time together. Both dogs enjoy being active and going out and about, especially hiking together. Nessa loves to swim and enjoy being in the water when she can. As well as this, Kasy hopes Epione can get involved in some form of sport someday, too. Other times, when they may want to just relax, they all enjoy each other’s company, whether for a snuggle or just being together.

The impact that both Nessa and Epione have had on Kasy is amazing. They all share a very special bond that shows just how much they all care for each other. Nessa has helped Kasy to be where she is today, and Epione is there to support her in where she’s going. Above all, it is evident how much Nessa and Epione mean to Kasy, and how much she means to them.  

Sage and Millie — August 9, 2021

Sage and Millie

~ Sage and Millie ~

A couple of years ago, Sage met their service dog, Millie. Since then, they have become the best of friends. 

Sage has different health conditions which can affect their day-to-day life. Because of this, it was suggested they look into getting a service dog to help them. Sage thought this was a great idea and decided to look into it right away. 

After a while, Sage heard of a breeder who had a new litter of Golden Retriever puppies. Once they were six weeks old, Sage was able to meet them. There was one puppy in particular who stood out. She kept following Sage wherever they would go and had the darkest coat of her litter. From that moment, Sage knew it was meant to be. 

Once Sage was able to bring the puppy home, and being named Millie, it was a turning point. They soon began training Millie and teaching her how to become a service dog. Due to having different conditions, Millie has been trained as a multi-purpose service dog, meaning that she has many tasks, from physical chores to helping with psychological symptoms. Millie can help by performing deep pressure therapy, helping raise Sage’s blood pressure, and much more. 

Having Millie has helped Sage immensely. She gives them a purpose in life and no matter what may be happening, can always bring a smile to their face. She has helped Sage so much. Millie is very loving, although sometimes mischievous, dog. With her, Sage has gained so much more independence, happiness and freedom. They know that whatever may happen in life, Millie will be right there. 

While at school with Sage, Millie was known to help offer support and comfort students who may have been struggling. However, she only does that if she can be sure her human is safe first, of course! 

When off-duty, Millie enjoys meeting up with her other assistance dog friends. They can play together and run around at parks. She also loves spending time with Sage and just snuggling up with them. They both enjoy this special time they get together. 

In 2021, Sage welcomed Tilly-Maeve into their home. Maeve is their service dog prospect and will be able to work alongside Millie. She is only a few months old, but is a quick learner and has started to develop a strong bond with Sage. 

Now, Sage and Millie share a bond that is stronger than ever. Sage has gained so much independence and happiness thanks to Millie, but first and foremost, they gained a best friend. The love they have for one another is truly special. 

Suzy and Moose — June 21, 2021

Suzy and Moose

~ Suzy and Moose ~

5 years ago, Moose met Suzy. Since then, they have become best friends. They have formed such a lovely bond and have been a great support for one another.  

Suzy met Moose in 2015 when he was a small, fluffy, Golden Samoyed puppy. She fell in love with him and his big smile and loving eyes. From that moment she first met Moose, there was no way Suzy was leaving without a new, furry family member.

Having Moose in their life has made Suzy’s house a home. He has added so much joy to their home and brings a smile to everyone’s face. No matter what may be happening, Moose always finds a way to bring a bit of happiness to one’s day. Through his cheeky antics, he also has a talent for making people laugh. 

When Suzy returns home, Moose is excitedly at the front door, waiting to greet his human back with a very wiggly tail!  If Suzy has had a difficult day, or is having a bad mental health day, Moose can always cheer her up. He is her shoulder to cry on. Her best friend.  

Not only does Moose bring happiness to his humans, but he also brings happiness to everyone he meets.  When they are out and about, people often smile when they see him and, on occasion, pat him and his very fluffy fur!

Something that Suzy and Moose enjoy doing is going on adventures together. They often go travelling, weekend trips, discovering new parks, and just enjoy exploring new places. It is a great joy for both of them.  

The bond between Suzy and Moose is certainly a special one. Moose means the world to Suzy, and she means the world to him. You can see how much love they have for each other simply by how they look at one another.

Erica and Chief — May 5, 2021

Erica and Chief

~ Erica and Chief ~

Over 4 years ago, Erica met her best friend and service dog, Chief. In the time they’ve been together, their bond has only strengthened.  

Within the first 6 months of Chief’s life, his owners passed away. As his family had an older dog, they felt Chief would be best suited as a therapy dog for someone in need. Chief flourished in this role. Erica’s mother had heard of him and decided to give Chief a new home. It was from that moment, Erica fell in love with her new fluffy companion.  

Due to Erica having some health issues, Chief has been trained to be her medical alert and mobility dog. He was trained by Erica. Initially learning basic commands, Chief proved himself to be very smart and keen to learn. Erica knew from this that Chief was her one in a million dog. 

Having Chief has helped Erica in so many ways. Their journey together started with Erica training Chief to be her service dog, but they have since become the best of friends. Chief can now perform a wide variety of tasks to help his human companion. He helps give Erica independence and confidence when out and about. She feels safer with her companion by her side and has more freedom in her life. The most valuable thing Chief does, however, isn’t a task at all. He shows Erica that he is there for her, that she is loved unconditionally.  

It has helped Erica immensely to know that Chief is there for here. He has been there for her through both the good times and the not-so-good times. This has helped Erica to be who she is today. He has truly shown Erica the beauty in life again.  

Not only has Chief helped Erica, but he has also had an impact on those within their community. Before the Covid-19 lockdowns, Chief would often work as a therapy dog at local libraries as part of a program called ‘Reading with Rover’. As part of this, children are able to read to Chief. It helps them gain confidence in their reading skills as this is done in the presence of a loving and calm Golden Retriever. There have been many children who have benefitted from this, but one, in particular, found it immensely helpful. She had struggled to speak, but after some sessions with Chief, she was able to speak words and sentences.  

As well as the ‘Reading with Rover’ program, Erica and Chief have helped out at Camp New Dawn. This is where children who have experienced grief in their life are able to share what they have been through and learn healthy coping mechanisms. Chief was one of the therapy dogs who attended this. Having him there helped many of the children to feel more comfortable and safe to share their personal stories. Even when discussing difficult topics, Chief was able to make everyone smile and laugh.  

When Chief is off duty, Erica and he enjoy simply being together. Chief loves dog sports, especially if it involves water! He has also shown a liking towards weight pulling and is always keen to learn more tasks and tricks. It has been a way for the two of them to bond. They both enjoy doing this and it’s another way for them to spend time together.  

Since having Chief, Erica’s life has become more full. Chief has brought more laughter, happiness, positivity and confidence to Erica. Before she graduated, during their exams, Erica would bring Chief onto the field for her peers to have some time to simply enjoy the company of a lovely doggo.  

The bond between both Erica and Chief is truly a special one. They both care so much for one another. It is evident the love they share simply by how they look at one another. Chief has helped Erica to have more confidence and independence, but also more happiness and laughter.  

Jet — April 14, 2021


~ Jet ~

In 2009, Jet was welcomed into the home of Sinikka.  Since then, the two have become inseparable and Jet has touched the lives of many.  

Unfortunately, when Jet was 2-years-old, his humans were in an accident.  It was then that Sinikka welcomed him into her home.  From the moment she met him, she knew he was a special and loving dog.  

Due to Jet’s gentle and caring personality, Sinikka felt that he would be a great therapy dog.  Soon, Jet was assessed and passed with flying colours.  He began his journey then to becoming a therapy dog to help out within their community.  

After passing his therapy dog assessments, Jet started by visiting his local rest home.  This went so well that Jet was able to visit other rest homes, as well as a dementia unit.  Being there offered brightened the residents’ days and offered them all some comfort.  It became a regular event and everyone looked forward to his visits. 

There have been many instances where Jet has helped the residents he has visited, as well as those around him.  A dementia unit resident who was hardly spoke was able to recall and speak her own dog’s name.  There is no doubt how much the residents looked forward to seeing Jet.  He brought them all immense happiness during his visits. 

As his rest home visits brought so much happiness, Jet was asked to visit a local primary school.  There, Jet helped to support children with their reading.  They could read out loud to Jet and they gained confidence in doing so.  The children were always thrilled when they saw Jet walk through the doors.  

As well as visiting rest homes and primary schools, Jet also participated in outreach therapy events.  These included the Special Children’s Christmas Party, University of Law Wellbeing days, plus many more.  From time to time, Jet would also go to the Starship Children’s Hospital and sit in their Pet Corner.  There, patients were able to spend time with Jet.  This was a huge comfort to the patients, their families and even the staff who needed some time out. 

Unfortunately, Jet became ill in 2018 with melanoma.  This was a big challenge for both Jet and his family.  Thankfully, Jet survived this but had to retire from being a therapy dog.  Due to arthritis and not being as active as he once was, Jet is now happily retired with his family. Now, Jet can normally be found sleeping next to Sinikka while she works from home.  

Since retiring, Jet has enjoyed his extra home time.  He loves going for walks and spending time with his humans.  Occasionally, however, Jet still makes an appearance at his local rest home as his human grandma is a resident there.  While he isn’t an active therapy dog, he still brings some joy to the residents there just by simply being himself.  

The impact Jet has had on his humans and his community is incredible.  It is evident how caring and loving he is.  He has brought immense happiness to so many people.  From comforting those staying in hospital, to supporting children learning to read, to simply calming residents in a rest home, Jet has definitely won the hearts of many.