Fun for dogs, senior project for Chase

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    MASTERED IT! — Chelsey, one of the many pups up for adoption at RPC, shows her mastery of the new agility course as she clears the hurdle for her reward of a yummy treat. RPC Trainor Pat Ingersoll, left, helps her while Luke, far right, his mom Melissa and sibling Xenon, 15, watch. (Photo by A.M. Sheehan)

    PARIS — A lover of dogs, Luke Chase, 18, of Paris, knew just what he wanted to do for his senior project. Help Responsible Pet Care.

    This wasn’t the first time he had helped it when required to something in the community service vein. Trouble was, he didn’t know how.

    That’s where mom – Melissa Chase – proved helpful when she suggested he build an agility course for the dogs because they had not seen one there and thought it might be useful.

    So he did.

    First he looked at buying one. “They are really expensive,” he says, so he decided to make one. Research brought him to a YouTube video that showed just how to do so.

    Adapting the YouTube design, Chase began his creation.

    “Record Lumber,” he says, “donated the bulk of the half-inch PVC pipe and Tractor Supply donated many of the connectors.”

    The basket full of dog toys were donated after his mom posted his project asking for donations on the Oxford Hills Swap and sell Facebook page.

    “Oh and my aunt in Texas donated the tunnel.”

    “It comes apart,” Chase says noting that makes it “easy to store and it’s adjustable.” This means the levels over which the dogs jump can be raised and lowered depending on the experience and size of the dog.

    Chases says that when he volunteered at RPC in the past for projects, he never got to work with the dogs because he was under 18. “I might volunteer again,” he says, “now that I’m 18.”

    Chase doesn’t plan to go on to college immediately after graduation. “I’ll get a job.”

    Test run

    RPC Canine Program Director and trainer Pat Ingersoll arrives in the play yard with Chelsey a black lab/Staffordshire terrier mix whose two and a half years of joy and fervor are apparent as she barrels into everyone slathering them with kisses.

     

    AGILITY COURSE — Luke Chase, 18, of Paris, sets up the agility course he recently created to give to Responsible Pet Care for the dogs there. The project was for his Senior Project at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. (Photo by A.M. Sheehan)
    TOYS TOYS TOYS — Chelsey, a black lab/Staffordshire terrier mix at Responsible Pet Care that is waiting to be adopted to a forever home, checks out the basket of toys Luke Chase donated as a part of his senior project. (Photo by A.M. Sheehan)

    Ingersoll pulls her back and calms her, having her sit quietly for a treat. She then introduces the first hurdle which is about 4- to 6-inches off the ground. Chelsey really isn’t very interested in the hurdle but the treat is another story.

    Patiently, Ingersoll coaxes her over the hurdle (which lands on the ground) and rewards her with a treat.

    After about 10 minutes of this, Chelsey has the concept and. for the most part, jumps exuberantly over the hurdle occasionally leaving it intact, in pursuit of that luscious treat on the other side.

    After practicing a while – so photos can be taken – Ingersoll lets go of Chelsey’s lead and Chelsey takes off like a shot … right to the basket of toys and begins sniffing out treasures. She find a red Kong and that’s that. Ingersoll unwraps it and they play “ball” for a bit.

    Chase looks pleased with his contribution to the enjoyment of RPC’s dogs.

    Chelsey looks pleased with the Kong.