I have know Diane Rampelberg and the dogs for approximately 5 ½ years. She came into our lives at very critical time. Our son, Calvin, who has Down Syndrome, was entering the Jumpstart program at Saint Alphonsus Rehabilitation Services Pediatrics in Meridianwhile in the midst of treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. My main concern for Calvin at the time was that he stay healthy. Germs were not our friends. So when I heard there was a dog in the program I was a bit apprehensive to say the least but the folks at Jumpstart assured me of the precaution they would take and the cleanliness standards Ovelle was held to. So reluctantly I agreed, but honestly I did not have any expectations in terms of Calvin’s developmental progress. At first I had virtually no contact with Diane directly but quietly behind the scenes Diane and Ovelle forged a relationship with my son that quickly went beyond any “job requirement.”

As Calvin was transitioning out of Jumpstart and into the public schools, Diane came out of the shadows and offered to work with Calvin at school not, because she needed the work or would be compensated but simply because she saw a need and loved Calvin. From that point on what quickly developed was a whole family relationship. She is dedicated not only to Calvin’s success and progress in the clinical setting at STARS but also to seeing that success and progress cross over to all environments he encounters. I think this is Diane’s greatest strength and what has made the biggest impact on our lives. She is driven by a real desire to work with the whole family. She has accumulated many practical, real life strategies that have taught us more effective solutions to deal with the issues we face everyday having a child with a disability. She is passionate about teaching families skills that can positively impact their day to day lives. These are real life solutions have really made a difference in our lives. With Diane’s expert guidance, Ovelle and Prairie are tools who give Calvin the confidence to start conversations where he might otherwise be silent, the ability to calm himself down and to more easily transition between activities, just to name a few. Diane is compassionate, positive, observant, and wise. The dogs are well-behaved, skilled and clean.

Tom and Cherylann Gale