Tribute

The Lord has blessed Dustins’ Paw with some wonderful dogs! They each have had their own personalities and they each have served and loved the people they were destined to minister to with enthusiasm.

This page is dedicated to them:

  • paw Dustin II - October 27, 1997 – May 19, 2004
  • paw Geralyn - November 3, 1998 – June 15, 2010
  • paw Ovelle- November 2, 2002 — November 14, 2014
  • paw Prairie- June 24, 2007 – October 29, 2018

The following poem was given to us when our first dog, Dustin, crossed the rainbow bridge.

It says well what these dogs do whether you are their partner or patient.

A true friend knows your weaknesses
But shows your strengths;
Feels your fears
But fortifies your faith;
Sees your anxieties
But frees your spirit;
Recognizes your disabilities
But emphasizes your possibilities.

That friend is found in the Dustin’s Paw dogs!

Read our Tributes

Dustin II
October 27, 1997 – May 19, 2004

When I think of Dustin I think of the song line, “We can fly higher than an eagle, For he was the wind beneath our wings.” He was a vital force just like the wind enabling the lame to walk, the mute to speak and the challenged to soar.

We were all heart broken when he developed lymphosarcoma. He was diagnosed in March and left us in May. The following tribute from Chandler Tripp, Della Maggiore and McKinnon schools was made into a picture memorial hung at child eye level in each of the schools. Years after, the children would stop and tell anyone who would listen about “My Dog.”

“Our dear Dustin “passed gently into the Lord’s hands” on May 19, 2004. Although we feel the halls of our school will never be the same without his presence, Dustin’s legacy of hope, inspiration, and encouragement will live on.

During his life, Dustin warmed hearts, giving soul to reality. Like a steady gentle breeze, he became a trusted member of the teaching staff. He whirled and swirled, acting as bridge, bringing understanding and acceptance between the disabled community and the community at large. He rustled and whispered as an advocate and supporter. Students, staff, and parents sought after his warm, refreshing inspiration.

Dustin’s ability to impact lives was nothing short of miraculous. His gentle urging and unconditional love motivated some children to say their first words to him. Some took their first steps with him. Other conquered fears.

So you see, . . . Dustin’s spirit lives on in the hearts and souls of all the children he helped and loved. He lives in their smiles and their enthusiasm for life, and will forever live in the laughter and joy that echoes in the halls of this school.”

He is the namesake of our non-profit organization dedicated to turning challenges into miracles, Dustin’s Paw of Idaho.

Geralyn
November 3, 1998 – June 15, 2010

In January of 1999 our sweet Geralyn came to live with us. As a Canine Companion for Independence puppy she was bred for a career as an assistance dog and it was our job to get her ready. She was a true treasue – smart and happy with the ability to brighten up your day with her antics. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, she was released due to a medical condition. We loved her and wanted her. So, we adopted her as our own dog in March of 2000.

We soon realized that she was a dog who loved people and needed a job. So, Diane and Geralyn attended Bonnie Bergin’s Social Therapy Dog Class. Upon completion of the class Geralyn joined Dustin, namesake of our organization and our first Canine Modality Specialist, working off and on with disabled children in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Her greatest moment came when Dustin passed away in 2004. After just one day at school without a dog, Diane called Geralyn into service. She faithfully served the children at Chandler Tripp, Della Maggorie and Saratoga Sub-Acute Chidlren’s Hospital. She was just what we all needed. Although she was not as skilled as Dustin, she provided the unconditional love, motivation and comfort to get through our grief and paved the way for Ovelle who arrived six months later.

Geralyn’s greatest achievement was with a young man who had been bedridden for an entire year. He refused to get up and was very discouraged and depressed. With the hard work and love provided by Geralyn and Diane this young man got up, out of bed and into his wheelchair within three days! He went on to become an American citizen and got his High School Diploma.

In April of 2006 Geralyn moved to Idaho. She loved Idaho especially the snowballs and delighted in chasing them and busting them to pieces! She also loved riding in the back seat of Mike’s 1971 Malibu. Acting as his secretary,she took her job seriously making sure everyone was properly greeted. In addition, she continued to work on a limited basis with Ovelle at STARS PEDS/Jumpstart and attended many of the community speical events.

We do miss her and are so thankful for the time the Lord gave us with her. She truly brightened our lives and the lives of many others!

When I think of Dustin I think of the song line, “We can fly higher than an eagle, For he was the wind beneath our wings.” He was a vital force just like the wind enabling the lame to walk, the mute to speak and the challenged to soar.

We were all heart broken when he developed lymphosarcoma. He was diagnosed in March and left us in May. The following tribute from Chandler Tripp, Della Maggiore and McKinnon schools was made into a picture memorial hung at child eye level in each of the schools. Years after, the children would stop and tell anyone who would listen about “My Dog.”

“Our dear Dustin “passed gently into the Lord’s hands” on May 19, 2004. Although we feel the halls of our school will never be the same without his presence, Dustin’s legacy of hope, inspiration, and encouragement will live on.

During his life, Dustin warmed hearts, giving soul to reality. Like a steady gentle breeze, he became a trusted member of the teaching staff. He whirled and swirled, acting as bridge, bringing understanding and acceptance between the disabled community and the community at large. He rustled and whispered as an advocate and supporter. Students, staff, and parents sought after his warm, refreshing inspiration.

Dustin’s ability to impact lives was nothing short of miraculous. His gentle urging and unconditional love motivated some children to say their first words to him. Some took their first steps with him. Other conquered fears.

So you see, . . . Dustin’s spirit lives on in the hearts and souls of all the children he helped and loved. He lives in their smiles and their enthusiasm for life, and will forever live in the laughter and joy that echoes in the halls of this school.”

He is the namesake of our non-profit organization dedicated to turning challenges into miracles, Dustin’s Paw of Idaho.

Ovelle

November 2, 2002 – November 14, 2014

What a dog!

Children and adults would do things for Ovelle that they’d never do for any of us humans. They’d work harder, conquer fears, try new things, break through barriers, seek independence and much more just to interact with her.

She will always be remembered for her sweet presence, work ethic and skill. She responded to clients commands be they verabl, in sign, using PECs or via assistive technology devices. She sang with her kids and resonded to them using her switch and the iPad. She positioned herself and used toys and equipment to encourage her children to move, balance, reach, work on their posture and use their walkers/wheelchairs/crutches/canes/scooters/wagons/bicycles. She’d even get on a scooter and allow a child to pull her down the hall or allow a child to take her for a ride on our special adapted bike, if that is what was needed. She played dress-up, beauty parlor, doctor, tea party, and many games to facilitate normal movement patterns, turn taking and many other skills, be they self-help, cognitive, mental, emotional or social. She painted, even wrote her name, drew pictures and worked on puzzles to encourage fine motor skills. She encouraged her children to become enthusiastic eaters and to brush their teeth. She tepped up at Christmas to help Santa and became one of his faithful reindogs. And oh, how she loved to play ball!

For 10 years our faithful, sweet little dog comforted, encouraged and served the disabled community in California and Idaho. Always ready to jump through one more hoop and chase one more ball.

Those we have learned from, leaned on, and loved most, leave us the very best memories! We thank the Lord for sharing Ovelle with us!

Prairie June 24, 2007 – October 29, 2018

On Monday, October 29, 2018 Prairie IV, Canine Companion for Independence Assistance Dog, passed away suddenly. He faithfully served his children with autism, cerebral palsy, Downs Syndrome and a host of other disabilities at Saint Alphonsus Rehabilitation Services Pediatrics and Jumpstart in Meridian, Idaho. Working 40+ hours a week, he motivated his children to walk, talk, eat, dress and do a multitude of other tasks all designed to help them become more independent. His work was recognized and supported by grants from the Saint Alphonsus Foundation and Saint Alphonsus Auxiliary, the Dave Dean Foundation and private donations through Dustin’s Paw of Idaho. He graduated from Canine Companions for Independence in April of 2009 and skillfully served at STARS Pediatrics and Jumpstart  for 9+ years. 

Affectionately known as “the Hunk of Love” he used play to disguise “work.” As one parent put it, “Prairie was a gift from God……who would have ever thought that “hunk” of a dog would be such a fine leader, comforter and gentle spirit to bring so much joy to so, so many. He was amazing, and he had awfully big shoes (or paws) when it came time to playing dress-up.” Several therapists commented that,  “Prairie improved a child’s attention and focus. He, also, motivated children to perform challenging  activities.” One therapist said, ‘Prairie served us all way beyond the call of duty because that was the  soul he was.” His Clinical Outcomes were outstanding. 

Prairie is survived by Mike and Diane Rampelberg along with Marymae, Canine Companion for  Independence Assistance Dog his partner for the past 2 years; the Team at STARS Pediatrics and  Jumpstart; his many children; Kathy and Jeff Zastrow, his puppy raisers; and his Canine Companion for  Independence family.