Brookville Student Creates Puppy Play Area For Rescue Shelter
Until recently, Campbell County Animal Control had no outdoor play area for incoming puppies.
When the shelter received litters of puppies, staffers had to keep them inside because they were too young to be vaccinated and were easily susceptible to disease.
Now, thanks to Brookville High School student Hunter Edson, the puppies have a concrete pad to play on outside instead of being cooped up in a kennel.
Edson, who turned 15 earlier this month, was looking for a project to complete the requirements for his Eagle Scout designation, the highest level in Boy Scouts.
He sent requests to various organizations, and the Friends of Campbell County Animal Control group was the first to respond.
“This seemed like the most needy place,” he said.
Ralph Sites, a volunteer with the friends group, said it badly needed a puppy pad. Beyond providing the puppies with a play area, it’s also easier to clean. If a puppy is infected with a disease, the shelter needs something that can be sanitized so it won’t spread to other animals. A concrete pad can be sprayed with bleach or washed down.
Barbe Shackleford, president of the friends group, said the shelter receives 10 to 20 litters of puppies a year.
Edson’s project also included metal fencing surrounding the pad and a small bench inside the play area.
Now the shelter has a place for potential adopters to meet the puppies outside, away from the barking dogs inside the shelter, and see how the puppies would interact with any current dogs the owners have.
Sites, a former Eagle Scout himself, has volunteered with the friends for three years. The group relies heavily on donations, and funding such a project was not feasible before, he said.
Sites served as the contact liaison between Edson and the friends group.
As a potential Eagle Scout, Edson was essentially the foreman, the boss, of his project, Sites said.
In order to earn the Eagle Scout status, a Boy Scout must complete a community project approved by his Boy Scout District. Once the project is completed, and approved by the district, he is awarded the Eagle Scout designation.
For the puppy pad project, Edson had to create a proposal and send it to his district board for approval.
His next step was to fundraise for the project. Edson sent out requests to numerous people and raised about $1,800 for the project.
“I had a plan for the project and what materials I needed. … We had to go ask a bunch of nice people and ended up getting enough money,” he said.
Lynchburg Ready Mix offered to donate the concrete for the pad at no cost.
Edson also had to get permission from the friends group to start building and contact utility companies to make sure it didn’t hurt any lines.
“I was out there one day, helping them dig for the footers. He had a few Boy Scouts there and he would make sure they followed directions,” Sites said.
The work began in August 2016 and Edson completed his project in February. The day the concrete was poured was a seven-hour day for Edson in December during his winter break from school.
“To see him at 14 go through that, it’s not an easy process,” said Edson’s mother, Brenda. “… It’s been neat seeing him really get into this and grow.”
Hunter Edson only spent $800 of the donations on the project and the other $1,000 will go back to the friends group. One of the Eagle Scout project requirements is that any additional money raised over the project cost must be given back to the chosen organization.
“It makes me feel really good and proud of the project, seeing the puppies out here,” he said.
Edson is currently in the process of writing the summary of his project and will be submitting it to the Boy Scout district for approval.