Ranger The Bodacious Beach Dog Is Making A Difference By Spreading Comfort

Ranger, a lovable and spirited golden retriever, is no ordinary dog. Adopted at the age of 2, Ranger has become a remarkable service dog, providing invaluable support to his owner while also serving as an assistant Behavioral Health Navigator for Transitions Mental Health Association (TMHA) in San Luis Obispo, California.

“He’s helped me a lot,” owner John Crippen told The Animal Rescue Site. “He allows me to able to go into public, because my PTSD is still pretty bad. I couldn’t do it without Ranger. And I think he’s given me a better connection with the community. It’s so fun the interactions we have with the world around us.”

Ranger is a familiar face at the Atascadero Senior Center.

Photo: Facebook / Ranger The Bodacious Beach Dog
Ranger is a familiar face at the Atascadero Senior Center.

A Service Dog with a Purpose

Ranger’s journey to service doghood began when he met Crippen.

“I worked in forensics for about 13 years, and I got really bad PTSD,” Crippen says. “I became disabled, I couldn’t work. There was about a two or three year period where I couldn’t even leave the house other than for my therapist.”

Crippen’s wife, though not a “dog person” herself, suggested he should look into a service dog, knowing how much of an impact they have the potential to make. Crippen was matched up with a professionally trained service dog, who was a good companion for years.

“My last service dog Flynn, he passed away, and I was just devastated. And I didn’t know what to do,” Crippen says. “A week later, my wife came home, my wife, my sister came home with Ranger. He was a rescue from outside of Bakersfield.”

“When we got him, he was terrified of strangers. He was so scared he wouldn’t eat,” he adds. “But oddly enough, he took to me right away.”

At first, Ranger had some pretty serious abandonment issues.

“I didn’t want to send him off to be trained, so I ended up doing the service dog training myself,” Crippen says.

Ranger is part of a project to create awareness about service dog laws.

Photo: Facebook / Ranger The Bodacious Beach Dog
Ranger is part of a project to create awareness about service dog laws.

An Inspiration to All

Crippen describes Ranger as sweet, loving, and a quick learner. His steadfast and calming presence has brought comfort to many senior friends he has made at the Atascadero Senior Center, getting belly rubs and precious moments of affection in return.

Coming from a background of abuse and neglect, and dealing with anxiety issues, Ranger has come so far in so many ways, Crippen says.

Ranger has been Crippen’s steadfast companion as he has reentered the workforce, first becoming an intern at TMHA, where he is now in a full-time role as a Behavioral Health Navigator. In this role, Crippen connects with residents Atascadero Senior Center to see how they’re doing and provide any help or support needed.

“I can help them with any kind of activities for daily living, even if it’s just getting up on paperwork, driving around or anything,” Crippen says. “It’s a very fun jobs. But the really fun part of it is everybody loves Ranger. He just has a calming effect on everyone.”

Ranger was adopted by John Crippen at the age of 2.

Photo: Facebook / Ranger The Bodacious Beach Dog
Ranger was adopted by John Crippen at the age of 2.

A Retriever in New Waters

Ranger is a great source of comfort for Crippen, and their time together has helped Ranger flourish, as well. Crippen recalls their first visit to Moonstone beach, where the shoreline is made of pebbles.

“Ranger kind of sank into it and backed up, and then stepped down a couple more times,” Crippen says. “About 10 minutes into it. He was body surfing and chasing seagulls and just having a blast. That was his biggest joy right there. That and chasing squirrels.”

Ranger’s love for the ocean is evident in his exuberant beachgoing antics, which include snatching unwatched food and even an amusing incident where he peed on a surfer’s backpack.

Crippen started taking Ranger to the beach more often, usually bringing a camera along.

“My wife almost killed me because in two years I broke three or four cameras chasing Ranger around in the water,” Crippen says. “She said, ‘If you break one more, you’re grounded.’ And I had to be a little more careful.”

The pictures that Crippen took on those beach days have been posted throughout Ranger’s social media pages, and compiled into a book.

“It’s all pictures of him with a smile on his face, playing and doing his thing,” Crippen says. “It’s just been a really, really fun journey with him.”

Ranger the Bodacious Beach Dog

“Ranger the Bodacious Beach Dog: a Photo Collection of the Coolest Canine Ever” is a collection of heartwarming and amusing photographs of Ranger enjoying the beach.

The book, released independently by Crippen, provides a window into Ranger’s playful world, where he enjoys body surfing, chasing seagulls, and stealing hearts.

Promoting Awareness and Education

Beyond his role as a service dog and beach enthusiast, Ranger is also committed to public service. He actively participates in raising awareness about service dog laws and public access. To facilitate this, Ranger contributed to a free presentation that offers valuable information about service dogs, their common questions, and the responsibilities of service dog handlers.

This presentation aims to inform the public and promote understanding about the importance of service animals.

“It can be extremely difficult and kind of mortifying to have to deal with misunderstandings in the public,” Crippen says. “I’m used to it now. It doesn’t bother me so much. But, I know when people are first getting service dogs, it’s really hard. So, after looking at all this information for years, I created this draft and I’d love people to download it for free. I just want to get the information out there.”

Where to Find Ranger

You can keep up with Ranger’s adventures and delightful photographs on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

From his role as a service dog providing support to those with PTSD to his playful beach antics and public service endeavors, Ranger, the Bodacious Beach Dog, brings positivity and joy to everyone he meets. His story is a reminder of the remarkable impact dogs can have on our lives and the community, making the world a better place, one wagging tail at a time.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, spending time with his daughters, and coffee.
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