Skip to content

A tribute to Air Ripley (1999 – 2009)

January 12, 2010

href=””>In March of 2000, we adopted family member number four. She was abandoned at the door step of the Dixon Animal Blood Bank in California. However, she was too thin and young to be a blood donor. The e-mail we received stated that she loved to play Frisbee, was friendly, and desperately in need of a loving home. She sounded like the perfect dog, so naturally we decided to drive to Dixon to evaluate her. The front desk was empty when we first walked in the blood bank. After waiting only a minute, we were greeted by a very friendly dog. She was super calm and sweet. I thought to myself, “this can’t be her as she is way too mellow to be a Frisbee dog”. That was my initial reaction at least. We were then finally greeted by the staff and introduced to “Big Red”; that was the name they were referring to her by. And to our amazement it was in fact the dog that just greeted us. One of the staff members then proceeded to take us to a park just down the street so we could play with her.

We of course wanted to give her a fair evaluation, especially since we drove all the way up to see her. Once we reached the park, “Big Red” started to wag her tail as she noticed we were pulling something out of a bag. As soon as she saw it, her eyes literally transformed. It was a Frisbee of course. At that moment she turned into a completely different dog. One with unparalleled focus and intensity. She wouldn’t even take her eyes off it! I remember she wasn’t hyper or barking, nor was she jumping around or on you. Instead, she just took the stance like any good herding dog would take and like a football player just before the ball is snapped. She was just waiting for someone to say hike and throw it. So we did, we started to throw Frisbee’s to her and what we witnessed made our jaws literally drop. She was agile, athletic, and caught Frisbee’s with style and grace. We were blown away as she leaped off all fours for each catch she made! From that exact moment we knew she was going to be the next Extreme Canine superstar.

We named this new star Air Ripley! Our best guess was that she was born sometime in the spring of 1999 and so we gave her a birthday of May 10th. We originally adopted her in the month of February 2000. From the day we brought her home she brought joy to our life. The other three dogs (Extreme Pepper, Soaring Sierra, and Jumping Jaz) quickly warmed up to her. She immediately became part of the team and for ten years we were lucky enough to have her in our life. Her spirit was kind and gentle. She was a stunt dog all-star, but was also one of the sweetest dogs the world has ever known. Trish praised, “She could have this insane drive, but then could tone it down and be gentle with kids, babies and the elderly. We always thought she’d make a great therapy dog because she was so sensitive to the emotions of other people. If you were happy she was too; if you were sad she would come and place her head on you and cuddle till you felt better.”

Catching flying discs and performing was Air Ripley’s destiny! Her favorite part of the show this last year was catching discs for the kids. During her last season (2009) she was still performing the big air stunt where she would vault over audience members to catch a disc. After her part in the show she would race back to the trailer excited about the fact that she was closing the show with the kids at the end!

During her life she put smiles on faces all across the nation and caused many jaws to drop. But to us, she will always be remembered as our sweet Ripley Roo. She is a true example of how great rescue dogs can be. She took that positive message and shared it with people all across the nation. She inspired thousands to spend more time with their dogs at home, thereby giving many dogs a better life.

Ripley had numerous accomplishments during her lifetime. The most notable are as followed:

– Ripley performed in over 3000 shows during her career in over 30+ states.

– Her farthest performance took place two times at the Alaska State Fair; once in 2003 and again in 2008.

– Ripley was the first dog on our team to jump over 60″ in the high jump challenge during a live show.

– Ripley starred in five theme park summer productions including: Dollywood (2004), Long Island Wildlife Park (2001 & 2002), Worlds of Fun(2006 thru 2008), ValleyFair (2007), and Knotts Berry Farm (2009).

– Ripley was invited as a guest on the American Fido contest held on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno (2003).

– Ripley also appeared on ESPN, PAX, Fox Sports “You gotta see this!”, Animal Planet’s Pet Stars, and numerous local TV stations throughout the US.

– Ripley starred in a Colorado based commercial to sway voters to vote “yes” on a proposition to build a new animal shelter in Pueblo, CO. Following the commercial the proposition passed. (2003)

– In 2003, Ripley placed 4th in the Nation in both freestyle Frisbee and high jumping in the Purina “Incredible Dog Challenge”. She was the first dog to be invited to compete in two different dog sports in the IDC at a National level.

– In 2003, Ripley placed 1st at the ‘Incredible Dog Challenge” regional qualifier in San Francisco for high jump and 2nd in freestyle.

– In 2002, Ripley placed 1st at the UC Davis Picnic Day Frisbee dog competition.

Ripley passed over the rainbow bridge on December 20th, 2009. She lead the dream life! She received constant love and affection, lived indoors, traveled all over the U.S., ate like a queen, got plenty of treats, and received daily exercise through playing, training, and performing. She had a great last summer doing some of her favorite things like: camping, swimming and performing.

We will never forget you Ripley. You will hold a special place in our hearts forever!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Trish Perondi permalink
    January 12, 2010 3:05 pm

    Ripley left her mark on the world and on our hearts. She is gone way too soon, but will never be forgotten!

  2. January 13, 2010 1:22 am

    aww. Well written. Magical! and I hope to see your show one day.

  3. January 19, 2010 8:42 pm

    such a great dog and hope to see your show one of these days. keep us posted!

  4. Sam permalink
    February 2, 2010 1:30 am

    I’ve know ripley for a long time and I’ve seen her jump 60 in. But I’ve haven’t seen her for a while then it was her time to go and I never got to say goodbye I love her lots and she well always mean a lot to me also have a special place in my heart I will always keep AIr RIpley close to my heart

  5. February 5, 2010 9:59 pm

    Air Ripley will truly be missed but her legacy will live on forever.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s