Ricochet is a therapy dog who works a lot with veterans with PTSD. According to Judy Fridono, Ricochet’s owner, the therapy dog is trained to alert a person’s anxiety and pain. She tries to keep them away from places and situations that would trigger their anxiety.
Since dogs are hypervigilant by nature, they are aware of everything going on in their environment. A person could rely on the dog to watch out for him, so he only needed to focus on the dog and not anything else around him. In this way, anxieties are reduced because it takes a lot of pressure off the individual to pay attention to his environment.
U.S. Air Force veteran Audrey Estrada had post-traumatic stress disorder after serving two tours in Afghanistan. She had undergone therapy for several years, but it was not working. She was still going through crippling bouts of anxiety and depression.
Audrey was still struggling to fall asleep at night. She didn’t feel safe whenever she ventured outside her home. Going out for walks was extremely stressful for her.
Walking was one of Ricochet’s specialty. Audrey realized that Ricochet picked up on her triggers and intuitively led her away from what made her feel anxious. She was able to get Audrey to a calmer state.
Ricochet’s other specialty was surfing. Audrey willingly stepped out of her shell and went into the water for a surfing lesson with Ricochet. When she hopped on the surfboard with Ricochet, she managed to let go of her fears. She learned that wipeouts are part of the game and that she could find the courage to get back on her feet again.
Audrey felt a lot better after her day with Ricochet. One could see her peaceful demeanor. Audrey was positive that she would be able to get a peaceful sleep that night.
Source: Love Nature via YouTube