Ricochet the golden retriever is giving virtual love to the people who need it most right now.

By Stacey Leasca
April 17, 2020
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Without question, these are difficult times we are living through. The spread of the coronavirus means the world has come to a halt, and life as we know it has changed for the foreseeable future. However, throughout the crisis companies, people, and now even pets, have come together to bring a little calm in the chaos.

While many people have taken to virtual travel, some may need something a bit more soothing. And that’s where Ricochet, a truly good girl, comes into play.

Ricochet the golden retriever happens to be a therapy dog with Pawsitive Teams’ Canine Inspired Community Reintegration (CICR) program out of San Diego, a partnership program with the Naval Medical Center San Diego. On a typical day, she may be working with veterans with PTSD, assisting those with different disabilities, spending time with children with autism and special needs, or hanging out with wounded warriors and "anyone else who needs healing.”

Credit: Courtesy of Judy Fridono

But now, as NBC4 in San Diego explained, she has reported for duty as an on-call pup alongside other essential healthcare workers. But, rather than visit hospitals, she’s now made herself available for virtual sessions via FaceTime with any frontline medical worker who needs it.

"In every other crisis, therapy dogs are called upon to provide comfort and healing," Ricochet’s team told the station. "But, due to social distancing and quarantine, animal-assisted therapy programs have been suspended." However, that’s not letting the team nor Ricochet stop their important work. As Judy Fridono, Ricochet’s mom explained, they are now offering "... Virtual Canine Therapy to doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers, and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic," according to NBC4.

And truly, this virtual experience can be just as rewarding. As Ricochet’s team shared on its Virtual Therapy Dog website, “Did you know making eye contact with a dog can reduce anxiety? ​Did you know gazing into a PHOTO of a dog's eyes creates a calming, connected state of being that, after 30 to 60 seconds, triggers the release of oxytocin in the brain? Oxytocin is a hormone that reduces anxiety and creates a calming, connected state of being.”

If you happen to be a medical, frontline, or essential worker looking to take a much-needed break with an adorable pup all you need to do is schedule a FaceTime with Fridono by emailing her at pawinspired@aol.com.

But, if you’re short on time, or just need a quick hit of puppy love, the team put together a few doggie-filled slideshows to help everyone relax in under a minute. Just click through, stare into those big brown eyes, take a few deep breaths, and find just a little piece of calm right now.