15 year old Caleb Acosta from Apopka, Florida has stage 4 brain & spine cancer. But that doesn’t mean he can’t dream. When he was approached by the Make-A-Wish foundation, he had a simple wish. Caleb wanted to go surfing with Ricochet, a surfing dog. The teen had seen Ricochet on ESPN, when the channel did a story about this amazing surfing dog, who also serves as a therapy dog.
Ricochet’s the surf dog’s website says she’s “the only dog in the world who surfs with kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors, military families and veterans with PTSD as an assistive aid.”
Surfing wasn’t Ricochet’s first career. The golden retriever was originally trained to be a service dog and help special needs people with everyday tasks. But she liked to chase birds, poor traits for a companion who needs to provide constant attention. So her owner, Judy Fridono, started the pup on a boogie board at 8 weeks.
On February 12, 2012, Caleb’s wish was granted. Caleb’s mom, Cathy, says, “My son is an amazing kid. So despite all his pain and his difficult situation, that smile that you see is always there.”
The cancer has reached Caleb’s spine so he had to be brought to the water in a wheelchair, and lie down on the surfboard. The two surfed together in California, Ricochet standing at the back of the board. It was a special day for the Florida teen. “I just felt almost normal, finally,” a smiling Caleb told reporters. “It felt really good to be free, just me, not worrying about anything.”
The moment caused Caleb’s mom to cry. “I’m just so happy to see my son happy.” she said through tears. “Today is a great day for our family”
Next up for Caleb? “My goal right now is to eventually beat this cancer, and to tell everyone about it,” he said.
See more videos of Ricochet surfing on her YouTube channel.
Like this heartwarming, good news story? Check out this story about how a therapy dog has helped a young boy with autism or the incredibly inspiring story of Owen and Haatchi, a young boy with a rare disorder and his three legged dog.