LOUISVILLE – Jacob Price is giving dogs at the Stark County Humane Society another reason to get their tails wagging.
The GlenOak sophomore has spent the last two years planning, designing and building a dog agility course for the Humane Society as part of his bid to become an Eagle Scout. The application process requires scouts to carry out a project that benefits the community.
The course includes stairs, an elevated landing, a ramp and a tube underneath, which dogs can use to run through, climb on and rest under. One of the nonprofit’s dogs, Copper, a 7-year-old coonhound mix, demonstrated the course’s features Tuesday.
Price began brainstorming ideas for the project in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic and a broken leg delayed his efforts. He started building the structure in 2021 and recently completed the final step of staining it.
“I wanted to do something that was different than what my troop has done,” Price said. “I came out and looked to see what they wanted, and when they showed me the outdoor runs ramp, I was like, ‘This is something that I have to build, this would be absolutely perfect.'”
Serving the dogs, Humane Society
Humane Society Executive Director Jackie Godbey said Price’s project presents numerous benefits to the dogs, the nonprofit and the people who visit to adopt the animals.
Some of the dogs the Humane Society receives come from areas where they have never been able to use steps, Godbey said, which causes problems if they are adopted by people who live in homes or apartments with steps.
Price added steps to the course specifically so dogs could get comfortable using them before being adopted. The ramp, he said, could be used by dogs that get nervous and want to leave the course in a safer way.
Additionally, Godbey said the Humane Society also receives dogs that have spent little-to-no time outside and have anxiety outdoors. Previously, the dogs could play and explore in grassy play pens enclosed with a chain-link fence, though there weren’t many things in the pens to stimulate them. With the addition of Price’s agility course, however, the dogs have more to do, which, in turn, makes them more comfortable playing outside.
“It will help that we have happier, healthier dogs,” Godbey said. “They’re not just being walked and then put back into a cage. They’re going out into an enclosed play area, they can play ball, they can do up-and-down the steps, they can run around. .. . It just gives them more to do, so while they’re waiting for that forever home, they’re not so bored. “
Godbey also said that when people come to the humane society to interact with dogs they’re interested in potentially adopting, they often have trouble getting the dogs to engage with them because of the lack of things to do in the outside enclosure. Now, they’re able to use the agility course to strengthen the connection between them and the dogs, which makes them more likely to adopt the animals.
A longstanding connection with nonprofit
Though Price’s project is the largest at the Humane Society, other scouts from his troop – Troop 1042 – have volunteered to complete projects that benefit the animals as part of their work to become Eagle Scouts.
Price said he first thought of the idea to build the agility course because one of his fellow troop-mates had volunteered at the Humane Society and told Price about the experience. After Price began working on his project, his friend di lui also jumped in and built platforms for the cats to rest and play on.
Another of Price’s troop-mates has plans to complete a project in one of the other play pens, though the specifics surrounding that project have yet to be decided. Price said he and his fellow troop members have found the Humane Society to be easy to coordinate and work with on their projects.
Help along the way
Along with the help of the Humane Society, Price said he received assistance from his parents, his scoutmaster and those in his troop. He also said the cost of the supplies for the agility course – about $ 3,400 in all – was covered by donations from businesses, veterinarians and friends in the Plain Township area.
Matt Sweeney, Troop 1042’s scoutmaster, said Price did a good job of recruiting the right people to complete his project. Sweeney also said the construction and implementation of the agility course, which he noted was one of the bigger projects he had seen in his time di lui as a scoutmaster, showcased Price’s leadership qualities di lui.
But Price didn’t want to take all the credit.
“I was able to do this because of the help that we got from [the Humane Society] and from my troop and I’m glad that I was able to get it done, “he said.” I never would have been able to do this without the donations I received, either. People who did donate donated a lot and they were very easy to work with, and the people who came here to help would do a ton or work. ”
As his troop-mates work on their own projects to achieve the Eagle Scout rank, Price has repaid the favor by lending a helping hand. So far, he has helped out with as many projects as he could.
In regards to his own project, Price has high hopes. Though it took two years to complete, he imagines it’ll be around to serve the Humane Society and its pups for decades to come.