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Spring ISD graduates return to school to finish making prosthetics for pawless pup

Carl Wunsche Sr. High School Graduate Dawn Ford adjusts a student-designed prosthetic device on Tootsie, an English Bulldog who had her front paws amputated due to complications at birth.
Carl Wunsche Sr. High School Graduate Dawn Ford adjusts a student-designed prosthetic device on Tootsie, an English Bulldog who had her front paws amputated due to complications at birth. (Spring ISD)

Despite receiving their diplomas, two recent graduates from Spring ISD’s Carl Wunsche Sr. High School couldn’t leave their work unfinished.

In the Fall of 2019, students from Wunsche’s Veterinary Science and Engineering programs joined forces to build prosthetics paws for a classmate’s dog named Tootsie whose front two paws had to be amputated due to complications at birth.

Engineering student Dawn Ford was responsible for building the prosthetic model, while veterinary science student Shianne Koch worked to make sure that any design would be comfortable and safe for Tootsie.

The project came to an unexpected halt after spring break when the students were unable to return to school due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I thought everything was pretty much shot,” Tootsie’s owner Rony Hozaifeh said. “I gave up pretty much any hope of Tootsie getting anything finished. And then I got an email from Dawn.”

The engineering cohort shared the good news that she found a local company, ZYLtech Engineering, to agree to 3-D print her latest prosthetic design and arranged a fitting for Tootsie at the school.

According to Spring ISD, Tootsie’s right prosthetic requires some minor additional adjustment, but the left one fits well.

Ford said that she was happy to see the success after having the opportunity of only two fittings with Tootsie before the school was closed this spring.

Hozaifeh expressed his gratitude to the graduates who came back to school just to help Tootsie.

“It’s amazing, these students, the dedication that they have you know? Sticking to what they said they were going to do,” Hozaifeh.

At the fitting, the students took another set of measurements and said they intend to create the final prosthetics quickly.