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Surfing therapy dog inspires in viral video
Ricochet inspired the concept of canine-assisted surf therapy after taking part in a fundraiser for Patrick Ivison, who is quadriplegic.

Ricochet helps to calm fears and anxieties during social distancing

A therapy dog named Ricochet has been providing comfort to people in need from a distance during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the re-circulation of a viral video that shows her journey from puppyhood to therapy dog.

The video shows the process of Ricochet’s training, which began when she was a puppy, as well as how she inspired the original concept of canine-assisted surf therapy in 2009, after taking part in a fundraiser for Patrick Ivison, who is quadriplegic. The inspiring video now has more than 6.6 million views on YouTube.

More than ten years later, Ricochet is now a certified goal-directed therapy dog and has surfed with hundreds of children and adults with different disabilities, as well as wounded soldiers and veterans with PTSD.

Therapy dogs can be invaluable in a crisis, providing comfort and support to people who need it most. But social distancing measures, which are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, have unfortunately resulted in the suspension of many animal assisted therapy programmes. Non-profit organisation Puppy Prodigies, which Ricochet is a part of, hopes that this video can help inspire people in these difficult times.

Puppy Prodigies runs initiatives that utilise service, therapy and emotional support dogs in an effort to empower people with disabilities, children with special needs and veterans.

Executive director Judy Fridono, who is also Ricochet’s guardian, said: "At a time where dogs could be a great valuable resource, we are thinking outside the box in an effort to provide some form of canine therapy to the millions of people around the world who need it.”

Image (c) Puppy Prodigies.

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Defra extends applications to Zoo Animals Fund

News Story 1
 Defra has extended the deadline for applications for the 100 Million Zoo Animals Fund until 26 February 2021.

Launched in June 2020, the fund provides financial support for zoos and aquariums that have experienced a drop in income caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Grants of up to 730,000 are available, which can be used to pay for essential costs and maintenance, including veterinary care, medicines, animal feed and staffing.

More information about the fund and details of how to apply can be found here

Click here for more...
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APHA confirms eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in England

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) has identified an eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry in England.

Confirmed on Tuesday (15 December), the outbreak was found in captive birds and poultry at a premises near Willington, South Derbyshire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been placed around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Further information about the outbreaks and the latest government advice can be found at gov.uk