Community News Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Dog brings surf therapy to injured boy

CARLSBAD — Surf dog Ricochet, the “surf”ice dog who lives a lifestyle of helping others, has been leading a fundraising campaign during the last several months for Ian McFarland, a 6-year-old who suffered a brain injury in a car accident that claimed the lives of his Carlsbad parents. Ricochet’s fundraising campaign presented a double challenge: Help raise funds to offset Ian’s costly rehabilitation, and motivate him to get back on a surfboard/surfing.
In July 2008, Ian and his family set out for a road trip to Colorado when a serious car accident claimed the lives of his parents. Ian suffered a severe traumatic brain injury that left him in a coma. Since his four months in the hospital, he’s made remarkable progress, but still has a long way to go.
In early July, Ricochet presented Ian with a check for more than $7,500. These funds will help pay for Ian’s horseback therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and aqua therapy.
Most of the funds Ricochet raised were through a YouTube video “From Service dog to SURFice dog.” The second part of the challenge for Ricochet was to motivate Ian to get back on a surfboard. Ian and his dad were passionate about surfing. The ocean has been very healing for Ian, and some of his first steps after the accident were in the ocean. But, getting back on a surfboard was more challenging and scary for Ian. Sometimes it would take an hour or two to work up his confidence.
“The night before Ian and Ric were to surf , Ian and I spoke about our schedule for the next day and what it would entail,” Ian’s Aunt Melissa said. “Ian was super excited to see Ricochet and even more excited to surf with her. The next morning, Ian woke up boldy demanding, ‘I want to surf.’ Any fears that he had were replaced with excitement. I seriously cried as he boomed toward the water. Since the accident, he hasn’t ever been that excited to get on the board. I am so grateful to Ricochet for making that happen as I know the whole surfing experience and being in the ocean will continue to aide his recovery emotionally and physically.”
Ricochet’s surf sessions with Ian will be aired in a slideshow at For more information, contact Judy Fridono at (707) 228-0679, or at

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