A group of Kettering University students recently completed a service project that is not only giving dogs at Genesee County Animal Control something to do -- it’s helping them prepare to find new homes.
Seven students from the Kettering University chapter of Tau Beta Pi -- a national engineering honor society -- built dog agility equipment to create a “puppy playground” in a fenced in yard at the Animal Control facility.
“We looked up specifications for dog agility obstacles from the official competitions and built the equipment to those specs,” said student Ben Spiegel, a senior from Bloomfield Hills double majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering.
Genesee County Animal Control volunteer coordinator Renea Kennedy plays with Utah using dog agility equipment built by Kettering University students.
|Ben Spiegel and Jacob Sherwood|
The project was brought to Tau Beta Pi by Dr. Diane Peters, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University. Peters serves on the advisory committee for Genesee County Animal Control.
“I saw a need at the shelter for something like this, and I suggested it to Tau Beta Pi,” Peters said. “Jacob Sherwood and Ben Spiegel took charge and really ran with it. With help from other members of Tau Beta Pi, they did a lot of work and this was a really nice service project. Who doesn’t love the idea of a puppy playground?”
The equipment was installed in mid June and has already become extremely popular.
“The dogs absolutely love it,” said Renea Kennedy, volunteer/events coordinator for Genesee County Animal Control. “It’s great for the animals because it allows them to work on mental challenges as well as getting exercise. It’s great for helping them with anxiety.”
Kennedy notes that the mental stimulation helps them focus and has a calming influence, which helps prepare them for adoption.
“One of the dogs was very dog-aggressive when he arrived here,” Kennedy said. “In a short period of time being able to use this equipment, he has calmed significantly toward other dogs. This is great for the dogs -- teaching them how to use the equipment is like giving them a job to focus on.”
The project has also been a positive for the many volunteers who work with the dogs on a daily basis.
“It has made the volunteers excited to see that it’s possible to make a positive change and positive impact,” Kennedy said.
The students were excited to not only complete a service project, but to see the positive impact their work has already had.
“This was a great opportunity to give back to the community,” Spiegel said. “It’s helping give the dogs something to do and something that can help them get adopted into loving homes.”