Maggie O'Mara: Behind the Scenes

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Ovelle: A great dog, and a 7's HERO too!

by Maggie O'Mara

Bio | Email | Follow: @maggiektvb7


Posted on June 29, 2009 at 7:07 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 22 at 11:10 AM

Dog Hero

Once a week, I get the opportunity to feature a "Seven's Hero". (One of the best parts of my job!) Usually our "Heroes" are people - making a difference in our community - and doing great things for others.

But, this week was kind of special! I featured a service dog by the name of Ovelle, and her handler Diane. Believe it or not, I have featured dogs before, but this one really stands out.

Ovelle and Handler2.JPG
Ovelle and Diane Rampelberg

"Ovelle" is a certified assistance dog from Canine Companions for Independence. She volunteers with her handler Diane Rampelberg at places where people with disabilities need help and motivation with physical therapy sessions. One of those places is STARS (St. Alphonsus Rehabilitation Services) - in Meridian.

Ovelle can get the kids to do things their therapists can't get them to do. They all want to be around Ovelle and play with her. Diane, her handler - makes the therapy fun with Ovelle. I had the chance to see Ovelle in action, and it's just an amazing thing to watch...

Ovelle and Twins.JPG
Ovelle and the Gambassi twins

Julia and Claire Gambassi are 7 years old, and because of a genetic disorder they struggle with a lot of things that are easy for most kids. They love Ovelle so much, and learned so much from her in therapy at STARS - that they applied for an assistance dog to have at home too. After a year long process, they now have Zane (a black lab) to help them do more at home!

Gambassi Twins and Zane.JPG
The Gambassi twins with "Zane" at home

Now the twins have "Ovelle" at therapy at STARS, and "Zane" at home. Proof that dogs truly are man's best friend, and in some cases - HEROES too.