LEWISBURG, Pa. — It's hard not to smile when you meet Doug, a two-year-old golden retriever born without a right front leg.
"We puppy sat him, and lo and behold, at the end of those two weeks, he became ours," Mary Ann Stanton said.
Doug belongs to Mary Ann Stanton of Lewisburg, who works at Bucknell University. She says that Doug gets around well, but retrievers are prone to arthritis.
"With all of the impact and weight that is on that left leg all the time, he's probably going to develop that much sooner, which will create issues in his mobility," Stanton said.
Stanton's vet recommended she look into getting Doug a prosthetic leg. She knew just where to turn.
"We've done a lot of research on prosthetics for animals, but it's different for every case, and we're really trying to make this perfect for Doug," Grace Adams said.
Grace Adams, Emma O'Shea, and Will Carcieri are senior engineering students at Bucknell. They are members of the university's prosthetics club and jumped at the chance to help Doug.
"That was my dream job as a kid, to make prosthetics for animals. I have contacted companies in the past to work for them, so I was super excited that we could do it here at school," Emma O'Shea said.
"We had an initial meeting with Doug. We took some measurements, watched how he ran, and made the prosthetics accordingly," Will Carcieri said.
The students are revamping their initial prototypes and have a good idea on how to proceed with the prosthetic.
"It's awesome to get the idea that we're going to help him in the future," Carcieri said.
While Doug currently prefers chewing on his prosthetic to walking on it, Stanton is confident he will learn to love wearing it.
"He's become sort of my constant companion in hiking and walking, so I could not be more grateful for this opportunity," Stanton said.
The students say working with Doug has been rewarding, and Doug seems to love all the extra attention.
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