Ricochet the surf dog grants wish of teen with brain cancer

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News

A Florida teen with an aggressive stage-4 brain cancer got his wish: to surf with world-famous surf dog Ricochet.

Caleb Acosta, 15, of Apopka, Fla., told the Make-a-Wish Foundation that he wanted to surf with the therapy dog he saw featured on ESPN.

According to Ricochet's website, the surf dog is "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 & SURFice dog™."

"Ricochet was honoured to grant his wish," the certified therapy dog's team replied.

The foundation flew Caleb and his family out to California. Because the cancer has spread to his spine, Caleb had to be helped onto a surfboard from his wheelchair at San Diego's Del Mar Beach.

"My son is an amazing kid," Caleb's mother, Cathy, said from shore. "Despite all his pain and all of his difficult situations, that smile that you see, it's always there. He always has it."

"He's stronger than we are, no doubt," she added.

After surfing with Richochet, Caleb couldn't stop smiling.

"I just felt almost normal, finally," he said.

"It felt really good to be free, not worrying anything, having someone to keep my balance."

"I'm just so happy to see my son happy," said Cathy, in tears. "Today was a great day for our family."

The video of Caleb surfing with Ricochet is now going viral. In response to the media attention, Cathy took to Facebook:

"Now we are back home and have been able to see just how far his story has gone. Literally across the world. This makes us happy. We want Caleb's story to be known. It isn't only about a boy who surfed with a dog, which is a great story in and of itself. But it's also about a teen who has the faith to believe God's words to him, that it's all going to be alright. Despite his diagnosis and what that means scientifically, despite his pain, despite treatments that do not seem to have worked, he trusts and believes. God has a plan for him," she wrote.

"Caleb's story has been transformed. We realize that reporters try to find a way to be sure their story is read or heard. Which is why I'm sure the prognosis of a person with Caleb's diagnosis has been the attention grabber. But it has been taken out of context. We have never been given a specific time of life expectancy for Caleb. Actually we are not interested in hearing it."

Ricochet's owner, Judy Fridono, responded to Cathy's post, sharing a photo of the teen and dog surfing together:

"Tears, tears and more tears. It was an absolute beautiful and inspiring experience to meet Caleb, have him surf with Ricochet, feel the warmth of his huge, radiant smile, and of course meeting your family."

Caleb has one more wish:

"My goal right now is to eventually beat this cancer, and to tell everyone about it," he said.