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!

Liz and Koda — December 12, 2022

Liz and Koda

~ Liz and Koda ~

Just over four years ago, Liz met Koda for the first time. Since then, Koda has changed his human’s life and they have formed a truly special bond. 

Liz has struggled with a variety of health issues and so she and her medical team felt a service dog would be beneficial. In late 2018, she met with a litter of Miniature American Shepherd puppies. Liz was instantly drawn to one pup in particular and felt a connection and knew that, if she had the opportunity to adopt him, she would. Not long after, while searching for a service dog, it just so happened that this pup, named Koda, would become her companion. 

Having Koda has changed Liz’s life for the better. He has been trained to help his human with both physical tasks and medical alerts. From opening doors, picking up items that Liz has dropped, to alerting her when her heart rate is too high, and many more tasks, Koda has given his human a sense of confidence and independence that she wasn’t sure she’d be able to have.

The tasks that Koda knows have helped Liz hugely. If she’s feeling faint, Koda can guide his human to a safer place, once there, he performs deep pressure therapy (DPT) and will lick her face. He will continue doing this until he feels Liz is okay enough to sit up or stand. Having him with her makes her feel safer, both at home and when out and about. 

Whether Koda is on or off duty, he and Liz are always a team. Over the last four years they have been together, Koda has always been right there for his human and has saved her life many times. To Liz, the best thing her furry friend does is simply snuggling up next to her when she’s having a pain flare up. 

When not out and about, Liz and Koda enjoy simply spending time together. Whether they’re going for a walk in the forest, training or doing enrichment activities, having this time with one another means the world to them both. To Liz, as long as Koda’s happy, she’s happy. 

The bond that Liz and Koda share is incredible. Each day is filled with love and happiness simply because they’re a team. No matter what, they know they will always have each other.

Dogs With Jobs — November 21, 2022

Dogs With Jobs

~ Dogs With Jobs ~

A couple of years ago, wanting to promote awareness around service dogs, Natalie published her book, ‘Dogs With Jobs’. As well as this, she has also created a page and community that shows the many amazing ways that dogs can help their humans. 

Wanting to help others and work with animals, Natalie signed up to be a puppy raiser for service dogs. While doing this, often had to explain what she was doing and proper etiquette, such as not distracting a dog on duty. A lot of the time, her explanations went ignored and so, she felt something needed to be done to spread awareness. 

After becoming an aunty, Natalie realised there was a way she could educate both adults and children – by writing a book! With inspiration from some of her foster puppies, including Claudia, Kirree, and many more, she wrote a children’s book about working dogs titled ‘Dogs With Jobs’, with illustrations by Victoria Brown, which was published in 2020. 

Natalie’s book details the jobs of six different dogs. It was popular upon release and provided some much-needed awareness to many people. On top of her book, Natalie also started an Instagram page under the same name. The page, as with her book, has helped educate a lot of people. The first time an account for a service dog liked one of her posts, Natalie was thrilled. She felt that her message was helping not only to teach people but also to help service dog handlers feel seen on a public platform. 

Since launching Dogs With Jobs, Natalie has received endless support. It has meant a lot to her to be able to help spread awareness about the incredible jobs that dogs can have. One day, Natalie hopes to make her book available to everyone. As well as this, seeing service dogs from all over the world doing their jobs never fails to brighten her day. 

Currently, Natalie is fostering an 11-week-old assistance dog named Irving. Whenever they’re training or going out and about, it warms Natalie’s heart to know that, one day, he will be able to help change someone’s life. It’s never easy for her to give a dog back to the trainer after creating such a beautiful bond, but she knows it’s for the best and will give someone independence, confidence and companionship.

The impact that Natalie’s work has had is incredible. Through her book and page, she is helping more people understand the incomparable difference these dogs can make. The passion she has is evident in everything she does, from every book sold to each post and message. 

Krista and Arya — September 21, 2022

Krista and Arya

~ Krista and Arya ~

Three years ago, Krista met Arya. In the time since, they have formed such a special bond and continue to bring love and joy into each and every day. 

In 2019, Krista saw some photos being posted at a local service dog training group she worked for. A dog, named Arya, was looking for a new handler as the previous one and her didn’t match. From the pictures, Krista felt a connection with Arya. She was wanting a service dog of her own to help support her in her day-to-day life. Then, one day, while at a friend’s house, Arya was there for training. In that moment, Krista knew she and this dog were meant to be. 

Having Arya has been life-changing for Krista, both as her service dog and best friend. She has allowed her human to gain independence and confidence when out in the community. From doing the shopping, to going to doctor’s appointments, to feeling safer in her daily life, Krista can do all these things because of the impact Arya has had on her. 

Both Krista and Arya enjoy simply spending time together and Arya especially loves playing fetch with her human. As well as this, she has taught Krista to slow down a bit and appreciate the smaller things in life. Having her furry friend has just brought so much love, joy and peace into her life. 

Not only has Arya impacted Krista, but many others. Whenever out and about, people stop and talk to Krista about her canine companion. If someone around them is feeling anxious or struggling and, she knows her human is okay, Arya will sit with them and ensure they’re okay. 

The bond that Krista and Arya share is truly beautiful. They have changed each other’s lives for the better and Krista has gained more confidence, independence and a best friend in Arya. 

Sara and Samwise — May 20, 2022

Sara and Samwise

~ Sara and Samwise ~

Five years ago, Sara met Yellow Labrador pup, Samwise. Since then, Samwise has had a huge impact on his human’s life and they have formed a very special bond. In the time they’ve been a team, Samwise has given Sara freedom and, as a result, more confidence and independence. 

Sara has struggled with schizoaffective disorder and syncope issues. This can impact her in many ways, from dizziness to hallucinations brought on by anxiety, among other symptoms. It was because of this that Sara decided that getting a service dog would be helpful.

In 2017, Sara heard of a litter of Labrador puppies with one puppy in particular, Samwise, who was a good candidate. After some behavioural tests, he was top of the litter! Samwise had an even temper and enjoyed being around people. He was perfect. However, when Sara went to pick him up, he let out a very loud and opinionated squeal, and she knew they had some work to do. 

It took some time, but Samwise has become a life-changing companion for Sara. He has helped her to have more independence and confidence when out in the community. From blocking people who may be approaching her when out and about, to interrupting certain behaviours that indicate sensory overload or a psychotic episode may be about to happen. When he interrupts these behaviours, he helps to remind Sara to take her emergency medications and to prevent the situation from escalating. As well as this, he also helps by picking up items, turning on lights, and steadies Sara when she feels dizzy. 

Not only does Samwise help her through performing tasks, but also simply being a companion. Sara feels safer with him by her side and he has helped break down barriers for her socially. Before having Samwise, Sara had to have someone with her when she went out. Now, she has the freedom to go out and do what she wants. People would often make negative comments, stare or would move away if she were symptomatic. With Samwise by her side, people see him. They see a beautiful dog and talk to Sara about him. 

During Christmas one year, Sara, Samwise and their family went to Longwood Gardens to watch the Christmas light show. This was a huge experience for Sara and one that Samwise helped her to accomplish. Crowds can be overwhelming for her and, when she’s anxious, she can experience hallucinations. Sara felt confident having his support and it was something she was able to fully enjoy the moment with her family. 

One of their favourite things to do together is trick training. It’s helped to further strengthen their bond and is something they enjoy doing. Not only is it fun, but Sara and Samwise enjoy showing others all the cool tricks that he has learnt. When they’re just wanting to relax, however, both Sara and Samwise simply enjoy being in each other’s company. 

Having Samwise has been life-changing for Sara. He has given her the freedom to live her life how she wants to as she knows he’s always by her side. He’s inspired her to advocate for those with disabilities, to volunteer, and help train service dogs. To Sara, Samwise represents everything she has worked for and continues to work for. They truly share such a beautiful bond and have had such a huge impact on one another. 

Zoey and Raven — February 8, 2022

Zoey and Raven

~ Zoey and Raven ~

Almost two years ago, Zoey adopted Raven, a very sweet and friendly Border Collie, German Shepherd and Labrador cross puppy. Since then, they have become the best of friends and Raven has helped Zoey immensely. 

Zoey first met Raven as a puppy. Initially, Raven was living with Zoey’s neighbour, but they weren’t able to care for her, and Zoey asked if she could meet the pup. As soon as Raven saw her, she ran straight into her arms and started licking her face. From that moment, Zoey knew Raven was the perfect dog. 

For a few years, Zoey has struggled with mental health issues. Since adopting Raven, not only has she become Zoey’s best friend, but she has also become her psychiatric service dog. Raven helps her by alerting her to low iron, reminds her to take her medications, does deep pressure therapy (DPT), and much more. Above all, Raven is Zoey’s companion and helps her to have more confidence when out and about. 

One specific time Zoey recalls Raven having a huge impact was helping her through a very dark time. Her mental health had become overhwhelming and she closed herself in the bathroom, in tears. Raven immediately knew something was wrong. She pawed at the bathroom door for 20 minutes and, once Zoey let her in, she laid down on her lap and wouldn’t leave until she felt Zoey was feeling better. 

Since then, Zoey’s mental health has gradually gotten better thanks to Raven’s love and support. She has provided her human with so much happiness and has given her a sense of purpose. Because of the huge impact Raven has had on Zoey, she’s been enrolled in a therapy dog program. Once she completes this, she’ll be able to help others.

Not only has Raven had an impact on Zoey’s mental health, but she has also impacted her physical health. From going out each day to walk Raven, to doing dog agility training, having her canine companion has had a huge impact. Raven loves to learn and Zoey enjoys teaching her new tricks and commands, so it’s time when they just get to be together and have fun. 

Raven has truly had an incredible impact on Zoey. She has been by her side through thick and thin. It is obvious how much love and care they share for one another. They share such a special bond.

Kaitlin and Lupin — October 4, 2021

Kaitlin and Lupin

~ Kaitlin and Lupin ~

Earlier this year, Kaitlin adopted British Labrador pup, Lupin. When he’s older, he’ll become Kaitlin’s medical alert service dog, but for now, he’s simply her companion and best friend. 

Kaitlin faces different health issues on a daily basis as a result of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). For Kaitlin, this means her nervous system struggles to regulate blood circulation, heart rate and temperature regulation. This leads to symptoms such as chronic fatigue, dizziness, fainting spells and others.

Due to having POTS, it was suggested that an assistance dog would be helpful to Kaitlin. She began searching for a potential companion right away. After a year of searching, she found Lupin. Once they met, she instantly knew they had a connection. Kaitlin was in love as soon as she saw the small and soft wiggly puppy! 

Each year at Kaitlin’s school, they hold a dance fundraiser for deserving people or organisations. This year, they decided to donate the money to Kaitlin to fund Lupin’s training. Having this support from her community has meant so much to her.

While Lupin is undergoing training, he has already had such a significant impact on Kaitlin. Once fully trained, he will alert her to any symptom flare-ups and help her to a safe place, among other things. For now, however, they’re working on their bond and how they work together.

In August, Kaitlin remembers a weekend when she felt very unwell. She had two fainting spells and didn’t feel well at all. Lupin encouraged her to get up each day. Being met every day with an excited and happy pup always brings a smile to her face. 

No matter what challenges Kaitlin faces, Lupin can always brighten her day. Through his energetic and loving self, he can bring happiness into anyone’s day.

When not training, Lupin loves to play tug and could happily do it for hours. He’ll often bring over toys to Kaitlin when he wants to play. She loves spending time with him and loves how happy he is when playing. 

The bond that Kaitlin and Lupin share is so special, and it will only continue to flourish. In the short amount of time they’ve been together, they’ve already had a positive impact on one another. 

Brianne and Emmett — September 29, 2021

Brianne and Emmett

~ Brianne and Emmett ~

A few years ago, Brianne was paired with Emmett, a Pit Bull x Chow Chow. In the time they’ve been together, Emmett has truly had such a positive impact on Brianne’s life and both have brought so much happiness into each other’s lives. 

In 2017, Brianne moved into a new city for her job. It was difficult facing all the new changes, but she was eager to start a new chapter in her life. She had met a breeder who told her they were soon going to have one more litter. As she had been wanting a furry friend, she put her name down for one of the pups. 

When the puppies were born, Brianne went to meet them when they were three weeks old. She immediately fell in love with the only male puppy. He curled up in her lap and was very quiet. Without a doubt, Brianne decided that, once he was old enough, the puppy, Emmett would be her companion. 

Having Emmett has had an immense impact on Brianne. During this time, she was struggling with her mental health. She was away from her family and friends and was finding it a challenge to cope with her symptoms. 

One particularly difficult night, Brianne didn’t know how much more she could cope. Then three-month-old Emmett, sensing she needed help, instantly went to her and put his head in her lap. He gave her hope and strength. 

Not long after, Brianne talked to her mental health team and they all agreed that having Emmett be trained as her service dog would be beneficial. Soon, they both began working on tasks and commands. 

With Emmett at her side, Brianne has had more freedom, a sense of safety, and unconditional love. He has allowed her to live the life she wants to and to know that, no matter what happens in life, Emmett will be right there by her side. 

About a year later, Brianne was finding her mental health to be very difficult to cope with again. She was on the phone with a helpline but didn’t feel she was getting the support she needed. In those moments, Emmett once again saved her. He brought her his favourite toy and, once again, provided her and strength. 

Not only does Emmett help Brianne, but he also helps her roommate. If he senses he may be having challenges with his mental health, Emmett will bring him his favourite toy or simply give him kisses. 

If Brianne is having a tough day, Emmett does all he can to bring a smile to her face. Whether he gives her kisses, performs deep pressure therapy, provides a barrier between strangers, or helping her get out of anxiety-inducing situations, he tries everything he can think of. He can always find the right thing to brighten Brianne’s day. 

Brianne and Emmett love to spend time together. When Emmett isn’t working, he enjoys curling up and relaxing. However, he also follows Brianne around and likes to join her in whatever she is doing. One of Emmett’s favourite activities is playing tug-of-war, which he would happily do all day, every day. 

As well as all this, Emmett encourages Brianne to go outside. They have gone on trail hikes, walks and just out into nature. Even on the days when she doesn’t feel up to leaving the house, Emmett can always convince Brianne to get ready for their next adventure. 

The love that Brianne and Emmett share is so special. It is obvious how much Emmett has improved her life and how much freedom he has given her. They have such a strong bond and have brought immense joy into one another’s lives.

Jacqui and Lance — September 27, 2021

Jacqui and Lance

~ Jacqui and Lance ~

Two years ago, Lance walked into Jacqui’s life. In the time since then, Lance has had such a huge impact on her. Ever since day one, they have formed a very strong bond. 

Jacqui has struggled with having health conditions and disabilities. These can create challenges for her on a daily basis. She found it difficult to have independence and confidence when out. To help her gain some freedom, it was decided that a service dog would be beneficial to her. 

After having this idea, Jacqui spent years looking for her perfect companion. Then, in 2019, she found a breeder who is known to be a very experienced poodle breeder. Of the litter, Jacqui met a small pup and fell instantly in love. 

The pup named Lancelot, or Lance, and Jacqui had an immediate connection. Jacqui was in love with his personality and, of course, how cute he was! After he passed his temperament tests and was old enough, he was able to go home with her. 

Having Lance has been life-changing for Jacqui. He can perform a wide variety of tasks for her, including medical alerts, turning on lights, getting medicine, picking up objects, getting water from the fridge and much more. This has allowed Jacqui to have so much more independence. She can do what she wants, go where she wants and has even enrolled to take university courses, all thanks to Lance. 

Lance has allowed Jacqui to get the most out of her life. In terms of her health, she has never been healthier. She is able to go out and be more active. Each week both Lance and Jacqui go on a new outdoor adventure. As well as this, she also feels safer going out with Lance by her side. 

Not only has Lance helped Jacqui with physical tasks, but he has helped her to gain more happiness in life. He has helped her to live her life to the fullest. They enjoy training together, going for hikes each week, paddleboarding in the summer, trying different sports and simply spending time together. 

No matter what happens in Jacqui’s life, she knows that Lance is right there for her. He has helped her cope, has supported her, given her hope and so much more. She has the freedom and confidence to do what she wants now. Lance has given Jacqui independence and shows her community just how much a service dog can change a life.

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.