3-legged dog’s remaining years will be happier thanks to Austin students

Pirate the three-legged dog at Connally High School. (KXAN Photo)
Pirate the three-legged dog at Connally High School. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dogs are man’s best friend, and sometimes we’ve got to go out of our way to show pups some love.

Bryant Meadors and Katrina Dvorcek adopted their dog Pirate about four years ago, after he had been through a rough patch.

“He was just kinda like the last guy on the left, really,” Meadors said. “He was laying in a little kennel by himself. He had just had his leg amputated.”

The shelter told Bryant that Pirate’s foot had likely gotten caught in a bear trap, and he had an infection from trying to walk on it, but Pirate regained his liveliness with his new family for many years.

But now at the age of eleven, Pirate’s starting to have some health problems. “So with the limb and the hip displacing like it is, as he’s getting older, that’s obviously causing a lot of pain, [it] makes it difficult for him to get around,” Meadors explained.

Prosthetic is not the only solution.

Theodore Moldenhauer, who teaches engineering at Connally High School, heard about Pirate’s condition and wanted to help. Now his students are creating mobility aids for Pirate during class time.

“[A] real project, something real with a dog especially… you know, they went kind of crazy. They wanted to just jump up and go to work right away,” Moldenhauer said.

Kids are working in teams so Pirate will end up with three options. These aids will help the dog get around more easily, especially on slick surfaces, like tile. Junior Justin Andrews-Moreno says helping Pirate has made him think outside the box.

“I thought it’d be really cool if I could reach out to someone and talk to them about doing something like this and making this an actual program up in colleges, too,” he said.

All three designs are expected to be completed in the coming months. Students will use a 3D printer to make the devices and Pirate’s parents say they think his remaining years will be a lot happier.

They expect to have the project finished in the next few months.

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