It’s all hands and paws on the deck at Case High School. Students enrolled in the Biomedical Science and Engineering classes are working on developing a prosthetic foot for “Forrest Stump,” a dog recently rescued from Texas.
The 4-month-old German Shepherd mix was rescued by Texas Rescue Riders, a non-profit organization. Forrest recently arrived in Wisconsin. Prior to his transfer to the Midwest, the young pup was discovered to be missing a paw.
Forrest Stump conquers the hearts of the students
The excited pup is challenged by a limb deformity. However, through a project-based learning model, students and educators have embarked on a capstone project that will make a “paw-like” difference in this dog’s life.
“He was found living under an RV with his mother and the remains of his littermates,” said Jessica Lietzke, adoption and foster care coordinator for the rescue.
Texas veterinarians concluded that the paw was either lost in a birth accident or he was born with the anomaly. Needless to say, Forrest has a stump that is sensitive to temperature changes, gets infected easily, and makes moving difficult.
Suggestions for helping this dog include getting him a prosthetic leg. This step in Forrest’s journey may help him avoid amputation.
A RUSD employee was aware of Case High School’s academies and available resources. Their knowledge of their technology resulted in a unique partnership. The idea for the student-rescue collaboration came from Racine Unified School District Purchasing Manager Diane Knoll.
“I work with the CTE department,” Knoll said. “I bought the 3D printers for school.”
Knoll met the rescue dog about a month ago through Lietzke. The two are friends. Their connections were able to turn a suggestion into a solution.
“It’s just amazing how they can make something out of this,” Knoll said while watching the students interact with the dog. “It’s a great opportunity and lesson for the kids.”
Creation of an individual prosthesis
On October 16, students scanned the dog’s paw and legs. They took measurements and made paw prints of his hind legs in ink. This will help students build a prosthetic using a 3D scanner and printer available at their school.
Among the students working to create the prosthesis is Keleah Williams, a senior enrolled in Case’s Engineering Pathway who played a key role in Forrest’s exams. Williams learned how to use 3D scanning software through her Engineering Design and Development course.
“It’s scanning objects and basically measuring it (his leg),” Williams said.
The students use the measurements to print a model for the dog.
“Our job is to make the next step as simple as possible,” Williams said, while Forrest wiggled around during the measurement process.
The continuation of the project will end with a solution that gives the dog’s stump a foot to stand on.
“We find solutions for them. It’s great because it’s a project-based class,” Williams said.
One paw in front of the other
Case High School hopes to have the dog fitted with his prosthetic foot by Thanksgiving. Until then, the students will continue to work on the project.
In connection with this, Tia Kastenson, a veterinarian at North Cape Corner Veterinary Clinic, will provide teaching and feedback.
Forrest Stump, who was once a caretaker, has also found his forever home while he gets a new paw.
Knoll’s daughter adopted Forrest. The RUSD employee said her daughter met him and when she did she knew Forrest was hers.
Until the adoption is complete, Forrest Stump will continue to put one paw in front of the other. Hopefully by Thanksgiving there will be a new, fourth paw to carry some of the burden.
The Racine County Eye, which includes the Kenosha Lens, is your source for local news serving our diverse communities. For more K-12 and higher education news, visit our Schools section. Sign up today to stay up to date with local news.
Follow us on Facebook: Racine County Eye or Kenosha Lens and Twitter to make sure you get the latest news.