'We Miss Ranger'

German Shepherd visited Pine View residents faithfully for 11 years

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The routine for many of the seniors at Pine View Manor Apartments has been broken.

A friend who tapped on their doors each day and spoke mostly with his big brown eyes is gone.

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Whether it was angel wings, reindeer antlers or devil horns, Ranger posed with good humor every year for the annual family Christmas card. "He was a good sport," owner Peggy Newman said.

Ranger, the mellow German Shepherd mix who was everybody's friend in the small community went to doggy heaven last month.

"I received more sympathy cards when Ranger died than I did when my mother died," Newman said.

"We miss Ranger," Manor resident LaVerne Lipsey said.

The "we" is Lipsey and her tiny dog, Yak-Yak.

For 11 years, Ranger jumped in manager Peggy Newman's Toyota 4-Runner for the drive to work.

Once at Pine View, he would immediately begin his rounds to say "hi" and glean treats, often stopping to greet Yak-Yak first.

Then it was off to visit the rest of the residents.

"Ranger would sit outside a resident's door and wait," said Newman. "If they didn't open the door then he would tap the door with his paw, just once."

If the door opened, he would get a treat or a pat on the head, then it was off to the next apartment.

Ranger's other dog friend at the apartments was "Lilly Bear," the silver toy poodle owned by Pat Moody.

"Lilly Bear was crazy about him," said Moody. "She always wanted to kiss him and he let her."

When Moody let Ranger in each day for a Pupperoni treat he would take a bite of Lilly Bear's food and have a drink from her water bowl before he left.

"If I went up to the office Ranger would be laying stretched out in the hall, his ears would pop up when he heard my voice then when I'd leave he'd follow me home for a treat," Jo Wheaton said.

She always fed him a piece of meat or cheese.

"My cheese is lasting a long time now," she said. "He was the loveliest dog."

Occasionally, the treats would get too rich and upset Ranger's tummy.

The first time I made him wear a "please don't feed me" sign, residents innocently claimed, "I didn't see any note," Newman said.

So the sign got bigger and the residents respected it, "but it just about killed them," Newman said. "They hated it and so did Ranger."

Once a year, for Christmas cards she would get Ranger dressed up in costume.

Whether it was angel wings, reindeer antlers or devil horns, Ranger posed with good humor if not, according to Kevin Newman, dignity.

"He ran in the door of Mrs. King's daycare one Halloween with devil horns on and his red cape flying and the kids just squealed with delight," Newman said.

He liked cats, he liked dogs, he liked kids but he never barked, he spoke with his body and his mannerisms.

Ranger showed up as a stray at East Verde Park. He adopted Peggy and her husband, Kevin.

"He was almost like the neighborhood dog," said neighbor Claire Wall. "I'm not fond of large dogs, but Ranger was the exception. Peggy and Kevin never went anywhere without him."

Ranger's paw print is in the cement outside Newman's office at Pine View Manor.

-- To reach Carol La Valley call 474-5251 ext. 122 or e-mail clavalley@payson.com.

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