Prosthetics for Paws: Students Helping the Community While Learning Anatomy

Over the past few months Mrs. Courtney VandeBunte’s Anatomy of Design class at i3 Academy has been working on their project ‘Prosthetics for Paws’. Mrs. VaneBunte did this project last year with a German Shepherd named Champ, but this year she focused on two other dogs named Elsa and Zeus.

“This project is to make a prosthetic for a dog in need and doing this project really makes me feel like I’m participating in a good cause. The part that I did for this prosthetic was to create the model and the final design,” explained Clayton Carson, a sophomore at i3.


On Friday, April 28th, Elsa, a white German Shepherd, came in with her owners to try on the prosthetics her group made for her. The group heard about Elsa and how she needed a crutch so it will be easier to walk around without getting tired, so they decided to try designing one in order to help.

Meghan Pollock, a sophomore in the anatomy class explained, “Elsa was born without her phalanges, meaning she had a birth defect where she only grew half of her fingers, and she had very little muscle on her arm, which made it skinnier than her other legs.”


On Monday, May 1st, Zeus, a black German Shepherd, came in with his owners to try out his prosthetics made for him. He is a bigger dog, which required the students to use stronger supplies.

David Flores, a fellow sophomore in the class said, “I designed the holster for the prosthetic to get the opportunity to create something good for a dog.”

Elsa and Zeus both had a need for prosthetics, but for very different reasons. Elsa being born without a limb and Zeus losing one during his life.

When asking the owners and students that worked on these projects how they felt about participating in this it got very heartfelt.

Elsa’s owners Mark and Kim Parrish said, “We have a big yard and a healthy big dog and Elsa doesn’t like it, she shows that by whining to us. The other dog can chase animals and she can’t. Being able to run will make her happy and have fun.”

Zeus’s owner, Cailin Kaklamanos, and her family were also very excited for this project. Cailin’s mother said, “This means a lot because Cailin has since day one searched to find help for the dog, it’s hopeless because the dog is so large. She knew a man who got her in touch with the teacher. This just taught me as a mom to never give up.”

Cailin then stated, “It means so much to me, I’m so super thankful that this has happened to him.”

Overall this project is a great way for students to get out into the community and help others, all while learning anatomy.

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