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It’s all hands and paws on deck at Case High School. Students enrolled in the Biomedical Science and Engineering classes are working to develop 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 nonprofit organization. Forrest recently arrived in Wisconsin. Prior to his transfer to the midwest, it was discovered that the young pup had a missing paw.

Forrest Stump captures students’ hearts

Credit: Emma Widmar

The puppy, who is full of excitement, is challenged by a limb deformity. However, through a project-based learning model, students and educators have launched a capstone project that will make a ‘pawsitive’ difference in this dog’s life.

“He was found living under a camper with his mom, and what was left of his littermates,” said Adoption and Foster Coordinator for the rescue, Jessica Lietzke.

Veterinarians from Texas concluded that the paw either went missing in a birthing accident or he was born with this abnormality. Needless to say, Forrest has a stump that is sensitive to temperature changes, is easily infected, and makes moving more difficult.

Suggestions to help this dog include getting him a prosthetic leg. This step in Forrest’s journey can help him avoid an amputation.

Technology makes advancements

One RUSD employee was aware of Case High School’s academies and resources available. Her knowledge of their technology led to a unique partnership. The idea for the collaboration between the students and the rescue came from Racine Unified School District purchasing manager, Diane Knoll.

“I work with the CTE department,” said Knoll. “I purchased the 3D printers for the school.”

Knoll had met the rescue dog through Lietzke about a month ago. The two are friends. Her connections were able to transform a suggestion into a solution.

Credit: Emma Widmar

“This is just amazing how they can make something out of it,” said Knoll while watching students interact with the dog. “It’s a great opportunity and lesson for the kids.”

Building a custom prosthetic

On Oct. 16, students scanned the dog’s paw and legs. They took measurements and made paw prints of his hind legs using ink. This will help students build a prosthetic from a 3D scanner and printer that is available at their school.

Credit: Emma Widmar

Among the students working to make the prosthetic is Keleah Williams, a senior who is enrolled in the Engineering Pathway at Case and played a key role in Forrest’s exams. Through her Engineering Design and Development course, Williams learned how to use 3D scanning software.

“It scans objects, and it’s basically measuring it (his leg),” said Williams.

From the measurements, students will print a model for the dog.

“Our role is to make it so it’s easy for the next step,” said Williams as Forrest was wiggling around during the measuring process.

The continuation of the project will end with a solution, giving the dog’s stump a foot to stand on.

“We are finding solutions for them. It’s awesome because it’s a project-based class,” stated Williams.

One paw in front of the other

Case High School hopes to provide the dog with his prosthetic foot by Thanksgiving. Until then, students will continue to work on the project.

In conjunction, Tia Kastenson, a Veterinarian at North Cape Corner Veterinary Clinic will assist the classes and give feedback.

While once a foster, Forrest Stump, has also found his forever home in the process of gaining a new paw.

Credit: Emma Widmar

Knoll’s daughter adopted Forrest. The RUSD employee said her daughter met him and once she did, she knew Forrest was hers.

Until the adoption is finalized, Forrest Stump will continue to put one paw in front of another. Hopefully, by Thanksgiving, there will be a new, fourth paw to carry some of the load.


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