The Bookworm Sez: Fetch this one for a sentimental read

The Bookworm Sez: Fetch this one for a sentimental read

You were overjoyed when your dog learned to “SIT!”

“Down” came eventually, then “roll over” and “stay.” He can “shake” both paws, fetch, find, and you’re working on other wicked-cool tricks that he’s eager to learn.

Your dog is a quick learner but can he raise money? Judy Fridono’s dog can, and in the new book “Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with the Dog Who Inspires Millions” (with Kay Pfaltz, c.2014, HCI, $18.95, 271 pages), you’ll read more about this YouTube sensation.

Following a tumultuous childhood, a divorce, and battling severe illness, Judy Fridono knew that she wanted to do something good for someone else. Since she’d always loved dogs, she decided to raise a puppy for a service-dog organization — but when the pup, Rina, was ready to be relinquished for training, Fridono was horrified.

She knew she shouldn’t have fallen in love with the dog, but she did — and sensitive Rina seemed to “shut down” from organizational training. In short order, she was turned away as a service dog and Fridono reclaimed her beloved golden-Lab mix.

That experience led Fridono back to school, so that she could learn to teach service dogs in a gentler manner. To do it, she needed to begin training puppies almost from birth and, while the first litter was whelping, she “asked” the laboring mother dog for a female puppy with a white chest marking.

The nextborn was a female puppy with a white chest marking. Fridono kept the baby and named her Ricochet.

For a little over a year, Ricochet was a willing pupil. She did everything Fridono asked of her and even anticipated some of the actions that were expected. Fridono knew she had a special pooch, that Ricochet would be an excellent service dog one day.

But when Ricochet grew apathetic, Fridono became frustrated. Where did her obedient, smart girl go? What was the key to unlocking Ricochet’s enthusiasm again?

Fridono found the answer buried in sand and surf.

Today, 6-year-old Ricochet has raised thousands of dollars for various efforts. She has a slew of certifications behind her name and is “the only SURFice dog in the world,” working with the disabled, PTSD-sufferers, and veterans. That, alone, would’ve made a great tale — if it had stopped right there.

Instead, authors Judy Fridono and Kay Pfaltz included a lot of extraneous storytelling that can plod, pages of new-ageyness, and a good dose of canine grandiosity. Admittedly, I’m very guilty of anthropomorphism myself — but not like what’s here.

And yet… dog lovers who love nothing more than to compare pooches will revel in this book. Its great be-true-to-yourself message is good for all ages, doggy-parents will totally understand its sentimentality, it’ll warm kindred hearts, and even the most jaded reader couldn’t deny that this is a special pup with healing abilities.

Overall, I think this is a total dog-lover’s book but it has flaws that may send some people away. Still, if you want to be completely, 100-percent charmed by a real-life shaggy-dog story, then here’s a book for you.

Fetch “Ricochet,” then SIT.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Email her at bookwormsez@yahoo.com.

More in Life

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: A Christmas artist and a cyber safari

My attempts at adornment layouts come across as being colorfully sculptured landfills

File
Minister’s Message: Keep your faith focused on Jesus

Don’t let fear make you slip from faith

Hip-Hop students practice their routines for Forever Christmas on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, at Forever Dance in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Forever Dance rings in the holidays with variety show

The show serves as a fun holiday tradition and an opportunity to get on stage early in the season

Image courtesy 20th Century 
Ralph Fiennes is Chef Julien Slowik and Anya Taylor-Joy is Margot in “The Menu”
On the Screen: ‘The Menu’ serves up fun twists and earnest commentary

I was plenty interested in the film I saw in the trailers, but the one I saw at the theater was so much more

Golden Soup mixes cauliflower, onions and apples and can be made in one pot. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Golden soup offers a healthy reprieve after holiday indulgence

On the off days between the trips and celebrations I find it necessary to eat strategically

Photo courtesy of the National Archives 
This photo and information from a “prison book” at San Quentin state prison in California shows Arthur Vernon Watson when he entered the prison at age 23.
Justice wasn’t elementary, Watson, Part 2

Well before he shot and killed a man in Soldotna in 1961, Arthur Vernon Watson was considered trouble

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Thanksgiving

We at least have a good idea of what our political future looks like.

This is Arthur Vernon Watson at age 39, when he was transferred from the federal prison in Atlanta to the penitentiary on Alcatraz Island near San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)
Justice wasn’t elementary, Watson, Part 3

Anchorage probation officer Roy V. Norquist was monitoring Arthur’s movements and reported that he was pleased with what he saw

Most Read