Canine park ranger spreads goodwill in Glendale

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Ranger joined the Glendale Parks and Recreation Department late last year, mainly as a mascot, but his role has since expanded. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ranger joined the Glendale Parks and Recreation Department late last year, mainly as a mascot, but his role has since expanded. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Kurtzhals says Ranger can also help break the ice, especially when dealing with folks who may be a little wary when he first shows up. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Kurtzhals says Ranger can also help break the ice, especially when dealing with folks who may be a little wary when he first shows up. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Ranger's position is paid for through sponsorships and donations. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ranger's position is paid for through sponsorships and donations. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

It was just what Glendale Parks and Recreation Department employee Summer Steinke needed on Monday, some cuddles and kisses from a park ranger.

“You came the right day,” she says as she is smothered with kisses.

But before you get the wrong idea, hold on, the ranger doing the kissing comes with four legs, a tail and a bark.

"Well, this is Ranger. He is an 8-month-old chocolate lab,” says Ranger’s partner, Chris Kurtzhals. “Look at him. You can’t help but love him.”

Ranger joined the Glendale Parks and Recreation Department late last year, mainly as a mascot, but his role has since expanded.

“We go down to the rec center…. the senior citizens down there having their activities. We will go down there say hi to them. We will go down with them. We have story time with kids at the library and sometimes we go to the police or fire station to say hi,” said Kurtzhals.

And wherever he goes, he makes the day a little brighter.

“It has been a little rough start today and really busy, and so to just have a minute and say hi to him… the stress came off my shoulders and came down a degree or two,” Steinke said.

Kurtzhals says Ranger can also help break the ice, especially when dealing with folks who may be a little wary when he first shows up. For instance, some homeless folks taking a break in the park.

“So it really breaks that communication barrier down, so they are focused on the dog, playing with the dog and they really start to open up to us,” Steinke said.

Kurtzhals says that means they couldn't have found a better man, make that dog, for the job.

"He is loving it. He comes to work, runs in the office, says hi to everybody,” Kurtzhals said. 

And Kurtzhals says, even for him, the day is a little better with Ranger by his side.

“Who has more fun, Ranger or you?” we asked, and the answer comes without hesitation and with a smile.

"I do, I definitely do," Kurtzhals said.

Ranger's position is paid for through sponsorships and donations. You can find out more about him, and help out on his own Instagram page.

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