CARE dogs check out doghouses made by Glenwood students (with video) |

CARE dogs check out doghouses made by Glenwood students (with video)

Bryce Gonzales
Colleen O’Neil/Post Independent |

For the past two months, the 12 students in Glenwood Springs High School’s (co)studio design and build advanced class have been making doghouses and shade structures for Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE). On Monday, three of CARE’s adoptable pups came to the shop to test them out.

“We thought it would be fun to just come in — because the students have been working on it for a while now — to get them excited and motivated,” said Leslie Rockey, executive director of CARE. “And the clients are the dogs. They call us the clients, but it’s all about the dogs.”

The (co)studio program takes the traditional wood shop class to the next level by emphasizing design, hands-on technical training and community engagement.

“One of our missions with (co)studio was to try to reach out and do a little bit of work that’s out in the public, do work for the community, other nonprofits,” said design and build teacher Matthew Miller.

Miller had the idea to do something for CARE for a while before talking with a student’s mother, who happens to be on the board. She connected Miller with Rockey, and together they came up with the idea for the project.

The dozen students are split into four groups of three. They’ve made doghouses, which will be auctioned off at a benefit event for CARE on May 2. They’ve also created shade structures, which will stay at CARE’s Soggy Doggy outdoor play area.

“We definitely had a need for some different shade structures,” Rockey said. “That was the initial idea that we had on our end. They came to us with the idea of doghouses, and then when we initially met with Matt, we told him about some different projects that we had or that we would like to have. And after him bringing it to the students and everybody brainstorming, this is what they’ve come up with, which is pretty phenomenal.”


To be as kind as possible to the (co)studio budget, the students have created their structures entirely from donated pallets; some have even reused the nails that came with them. Not only does this save money, but it requires the students to employ some ingenuity in their designs.

One team of students, 17-year-old senior Luke Sappington and 15-year-old sophomores Gevin Wilson and Cole Shavalier, are working on a doghouse ideal for one or two big dogs or multiple small dogs. They put thought into every aspect of its construction.

“We’re trying to use strong wood,” Shavalier said. “We’re trying to use oak pallets instead of pine because that’s definitely more flimsy.”

“The way we built it is it doesn’t sit in one square,” Sappington said. “If you put it on a lawn or a piece of property, it only sits on two beams, so therefore it minimizes killing any grass or vegetation that it’s set on top of.”

Another team with 16-year-old sophomore Linc Kleager and 18-year-old seniors Oscar Gallegos and Corey Erickson have created a colorful and unique doghouse inspired by triangles. The group is also working on a shade structure.

“We actually do [hope to build more doghouses], but with the other shelter we’re doing, we don’t know if we’re going to have enough time,” Gallegos said. “We have a shelter that we’re doing for the Soggy Doggy area. It’s segmented in different angels, so it covers a lot of ground.”


Another shade structure is being built by 18-year-old senior Bryce Gonzales, 17-year-old senior Tyler Stoll and 16-year-old sophomore Connor Robbins. And Rockey said one of the structures she’s most excited about is a play area for the dogs inspired by the Colorado flag.

“It’s something that the dogs can get in and get on top of,” Rockey said. “And then hearing that it’s going to be painted like the Colorado flag is really kind of cool; it’s like an added bonus. We just have this huge, open backyard where the dogs get to run and play in the summertime, so this will give the dogs something to do back there. Not to mention, the staff can go back there and do some agility, throw the ball through it and get the dogs to jump around on it. It’s going to be fun.”

Not only will the end results be fun for the dogs, but the process has been fun for the students.

“The kids have been super into it, way moreso even than other projects we’ve done,” Miller said.

“I like that we’re actually auctioning them off,” Sappington said. “I think that’s helpful because it shows that we do care. It’s been fun. It’s a good teamwork project. It’s always good to practice and put what we’ve learned to the test.”

And if wagging tails are any indication, the clients approved.

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