Community Outreach Dog Program

What is Glendale Parks & Recreation’s innovative community outreach program? Hint: it is furry, has four legs, and likes to play fetch!

RangerMeet “Ranger,” the Newest Member of the Park Ranger Team!
The old adage says that dog is man’s best friend. Glendale Parks &
Recreation staff asked: What if a dog could be not just one person’s companion, but a best friend to an entire community? What if the unconditional love and joy that a dog offers can be magnified on a grander scale? It makes you all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it? Glendale’s Park Rangers are in the process of implementing a program – likely the first of its kind in the nation to create a K9 program for a Parks and Recreation agency. 

This furry, four-legged, innovative outreach tool named "Ranger," will be part of an overall mission to increase engagement with the public. Research indicates that dogs are social equalizers, serving as a bridge for communication or an icebreaker in social situations. The effect that dogs have on people is exactly why this dog will be the perfect ambassador for the Parks & Recreation Division. The department is looking to increase participation in programs, use at parks and in facilities, as well as educating the public about safety in those parks and facilities. Ranger will attend city and community events, visit schools, hospitals, and many other events and functions. Ranger will also be a huge component of implementing new programs like a Junior Ranger program and a tour/guide program at Thunderbird Conservation Park.

While this working dog concept is certainly not new to the city of Glendale or other agencies, it is the first of its kind to our ranger K9 knowledge to be used in a parks and recreation setting. Glendale’s own Fire Department for many years had a crisis response dog, Topaz, who responded with his handler in traumatic situations, acting as a calming effect and distraction for children and adults alike. Our dog will have a secondary mission to become a responder for crisis response incidents for the Fire Department, as well. One of the funding goals that the team has is the specialized training that Ranger will need to go through to work in that capacity.

The funding for Ranger's care, supplies and training will be funded solely by donations and sponsorships. The Parks & Recreation Division is asking residents, businesses and other stakeholders to donate and/or sponsor this program and support something that will touch tens of thousands of residents and visitors in Glendale and beyond.