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Kids at the Englewood High School in Jacksonville, Florida are learning a great deal from their shop class teacher, Barry Stewart. The animal lover has been coordinating with the Forsyth County Animal Control’s Houses for Hounds since 2002 to have his students build pet houses for shelter dogs and low-income residents with pets.

The program is not just helping pets, it’s also helping the students of his class learn the skill of home building. After all, the dog houses are just like human houses, but smaller.

“The framing technique and terminology for pet housing is the same as for a regular house,” Stewart said, according to People. “The floor system, wall system, roof system and all the actual parts are identical. So, every part we use on the pet houses we can reference to the correlating part in the home,” he added. The teacher decided to incorporate this in his shop class. In the process, the kids are acquiring valuable skills to building techniques, including critical thinking.

The students learned to determine what the pet houses needed so that there has been redesigns over the years. They have considered other features to the structure, such as protection from wind and rain and better entryways and roofs. They also developed a design that makes the house easier for cleaning by the caretakers.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Stewart and his class have donated over 700 pet houses that are meant for dogs and feral cats since the program started. Of course, it helped that some of the kids enjoyed the project because they are pet lovers themselves.

“I have a dog also and I know not all dogs get shelter. It feels good to build a house for a dog that doesn’t have shelter and to give back in a way,” said one of the students, 14-year-old Nicholas Talley.

Stewart will keep with the program for as long as he’s teaching the class and said there’s a different kind of joy in learning that their project is making a difference.

Do dogs wear braces and can this help? Apparently, a doggie dentist in Spring Lake, Michigan believes that it can. In fact, he fitted his daughter’s six-month-old puppy, Wesley, with its own set of braces.

The dentist, Dr. Jim Moore, is also a veterinarian for the Harborfront Hospital for Animals. He specializes in endodontics and oral surgery for pets, and he’s had his share of treating dogs with canine root canal and pets with fractured jaws.

In Wesley’s case, the Golden Retriever was fitted with braces because his teeth has been misaligned. The dentist explains that the dog braces are not for aesthetics, as Wesley, like many other dogs in need of dental care, has a valid health concern.

“He wasn’t able to fully close his mouth and chew well and he stopped playing with his toys because of the pain and started losing weight because he couldn’t eat,” said Wesley’s owner, Molly. “The good news is, the correction he needed will be brief, perhaps only a few weeks,” the experts at the Harborfront Hospital for Animals’ Facebook page wrote.

Wesley was fitted with the braces on Feb. 19 and it’s due to come off anytime this week. The braces do not seem to bother Wesley one bit as he eats and plays like any regular dog. “He’s a happy little guy,” noted Dr. Moore.

Meanwhile, the timing of Wesley’s braces procedure highlights National Pet Dental Health, which is observed every February. It is a good reminder for pet owners to ensure their dogs’ teeth are also given attention, as it can lead to serious health issues when it’s disregarded.

Like humans, dogs must visit their dentists regularly for cleaning, and in some cases, they may require filing, extraction and teeth adjustment. Dogs can also develop oral problems common to humans, such as gingivitis, halitosis, receding gums and tooth loss, thus their teeth’s health must be evaluated from time to time by veterinary dentist.

Check out Wesley with his braces below:


When people hear that Dr. Moore is a “doggie dentist,” they immediately say things like: “What? Does he put braces on…

Posted by Harborfront Hospital for Animals on Friday, February 26, 2016

Daniel Jacobs recorded herself having an Asperger’s melt down and uploaded it on Youtube. Service dogs can help calm destructive behavior and ward off impending panic attacks. These types of disabilities are hidden from view and it shows that dogs really do have a sixth sense and have the power to heal. Next time you see someone with a service dog, don’t judge them for not having a visible disability. They may be suffering from a condition that the human eye cannot detect.

Danielle is quoted at the end of the video by saying. “This is what having Asperger’s is like. Please no negative comments this really happened and it’s not easy to open myself and share what it’s like on a daily basis. This is what’s considered a meltdown….”

Asperger’s is a condition that cannot be seen and is not an obvious disability. People complaining about “fake service dogs” do not really know if the service dog is fake or real. They just assume the dogs are not service animals because they don’t see anything wrong with the handler. Asperger’s is real, panic attacks are real, PTSD is real. Please remember this next time you feel the urge to judge someone with a service animal or emotional support animal.

Danielle’s caption continues and says, “Yes Samson is alerting. I trained him to alert to depressive episodes and self harm not both but he alerted. It appears the response is late but it’s actually supposed to be as I’m coming out of the meltdown as I tend to have a panic attack after.”

Good job Sampson! Danielle is lucky to have you as her service animal.