So what if dogs can’t say the Scout slogan?
That hasn’t stopped Ranger from doing his Good Turn daily.
For the past few years, Ranger has been helping his best friend, Ethan Warren, cope with the sometimes-violent “triggers” Ethan experiences as part of his Asperger’s syndrome.
The pup’s presence has been especially helpful at Ethan’s boards of review in Scouts BSA Troop 426 of Manchester, Mich., part of the Southern Shores Field Service Council.
Normally, these boards might be a time when the stress of answering adults’ questions would be too intense for Ethan. But not with Ranger there.
“Ranger has been a lifesaver for Ethan,” says Ethan’s mom, Cristie. “If Ranger hadn’t been at Ethan’s side for all of his boards of review, then I’m not sure that he would have achieved the rank of Eagle.”
So it was only fitting that when Ethan got his Eagle Scout medal and badge on Aug. 10, Ranger was waiting — where else? — right by Ethan’s side.
Ethan’s Scout leaders and fellow Scouts from Troop 426 arranged to get Ranger his very own neckerchief.
Ethan began to tear up as he placed Ranger’s neckerchief around him.
“Just knowing that Ranger was going to be recognized for what he has done for me over the years was very gratifying,” Ethan says. “He’s been by my side for half of my Scouting career, and I don’t think I could’ve done it without him.”
A helpful, friendly dog
Cristie says Scouting gave her son the support he needed to reach his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout.
Still, the road wasn’t easy. That’s true for any Scout, but Ethan’s Asperger’s and ADHD made things even tougher.
“Physically, he is very healthy,” Cristie says. “But mentally, his brain just does not work like most other people. He has what we call ‘triggers.’ Usually he bangs his head, kicks and bites. He blacks out during these episodes, so he has no control over what his body is doing.”
This is where Ranger comes in. When Ranger turned 1, Cristie and her husband noticed Ranger’s special connection with Ethan.
Cristie especially remembers one evening in April 2016 when Ranger, without warning, jumped up and ran to Ethan’s bedroom. Concerned, they followed Ranger.
Ethan was in the beginning stages of a “trigger,” so Ranger jumped onto Ethan’s bed put his weight on Ethan’s chest.
“So basically, Ranger was acting as a weighted blanket for Ethan,” Cristie says. “It actually snapped Ethan out of the ‘trigger.'”
Since then, Ranger joins Ethan any time Ethan’s parents feel there might be something stressful or upsetting ahead.
“When Ranger feels Ethan starting to tense up or get a little stressed, he will hug him and distract him from whatever is causing him to tense up,” Cristie says. “Ranger has been a lifesaver.”