Meet Ranger Ish
South Carolina State Parks sees a lot of visitors throughout the year, but there is a special visitor who captured the eyes and hearts of our team! Meet Ishmael, also known as Ranger Ish! Ranger Ish is an 11-year-old Bloodhound that has proven that even with a little help, the outdoors are for everyone.
After being adopted from a hound rescue in Trinidad, CO at eight months old – baby Ish found his forever mom with his owner’s roommate, Allison. “I really wanted him because we spent so much time together & he became my best friend, so I wasn't hesitant at all when I was asked if I wanted to take him. Truthfully, I would have been quite upset if I had to say goodbye to him,” she said. From there, Ish journeyed out of Colorado for the first time to say hello to his new home in Summerville, South Carolina.
Allison learned about the Ultimate Outsider program in the Summer of 2019 and decided to continue her adventures with Ish exploring state parks. Shortly after, Allison noticed that Ish was starting to drag his legs and was having trouble walking. She went to the vet and discovered that Ish developed Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) a disease that impacts the spinal cord and progressively causes paralysis. Instead of letting this roadblock keep them from exploring the outdoors, Allison decided to invest in a wheelchair that allowed Ish the mobility needed to explore and set out to finish visiting all 47 South Carolina state parks!
You may have seen Ish rolling around state parks enjoying some of the ADA amenities within parks – like the paved path at Sadlers Creek and Musgrove Mill or the accessible piers at Santee, Lake Hartwell, Chester or Lake Greenwood state parks! “The piers were nice too because it gave us some different scenery we wouldn’t be able to see otherwise,” Allison said. Being the Bloodhound he is, Ish even sniffed out a geocache all by himself.
In 2019, Ish took to Instagram as Ranger Ish wearing his iconic ranger hat and sharing his journey to the 47, while giving other pet owners who have pets with disabilities, inspiration to explore the outdoors! Despite his DM progressing, after one year and eight months, Allison and Ish achieved Ultimate Outsider status!
Congratulations Ish and happy birthday as you celebrate 12 years of life adventures on July 4!