They say every dog has his day, and for one three-legged puppy that day is here.
Grey, a friendly, energetic, playful, 11-month-old Golden Retriever, has only a partial right front leg. On Friday morning, he was fitted for a prosthetic leg at Kaukauna High School.
It all started when Mr. Nels Lawrence, an engineering technology teacher at the school, asked his engineering students to build a device that helped someone with a disability. Senior and class valedictorian Ben Brochtrup, who is pursuing a career in mechanical and aerospace engineering, was one of those students. When Mr. Lawrence met Grey at a dog-training class, the pieces of the puzzle came together.
“I kinda casually said, ‘oh, well we could probably do a 3D printed leg to help that dog out,” Mr. Lawrence says, “Then (I) recruited Ben to get involved, and to be honest with you, it’s been all student-driven ever since then.”
“I found different models online,” Ben says. “I didn’t really have any exact measurements, but I saw basic sketches of what people kind of had planned out for other dogs.”
Ben took measurements of the pup’s partial right paw, and created a model using the school’s computer equipment, and then printed the new accessory using the school’s 3D printer.
“It took a few tries, but I think we’re at a spot now where it’s almost wrapped up,” Ben says.
As far as how the new leg will change Grey’s life?
“I think that Grey’s gonna have a healthier life,” Mr. Lawrence says. “A little bit more mobility, and hopefully be able to go out for a longer walk with the family, make things in general just more fun for the dog.”
“I think it’s gonna give him a lot more mobility,” Ben says. “I hope that it improves his quality of life, and just makes him a little happier dog than he already his.”
Grey’s leg is not completely finished – it still needs a few more adjustments. But once he’s walking on it, it will adapt to him as he continues to grow.