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High School Construction Class Builds Dog Houses for Dogs

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

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.

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