WEST BLOOMFIELD — Several lucky dogs received new outdoor abodes as early Christmas presents, thanks to a local Boy Scout who recently completed a leadership project.
On Dec. 22, Jacob Thoma from Troop 326 at St. Patrick’s Parish in White Lake delivered five doghouses to needy homes in Pontiac, in partnership with the Animal Care Network. He recently built 10 doghouses as part of his Eagle Scout leadership project, an essential component of attaining Scouting’s highest rank.
Thoma, 15, from West Bloomfield, said he felt good while investing his time in a positive cause, and he added that he hopes to help out the animal group again in the future.
He also talked about the sense of honor and duty that comes with becoming an Eagle Scout.
“A lot of it is for college,” he said. “But it’s also kind of a big responsibility because it’s the highest rank, so I wanted my project to actually do something and make a difference.”
Thoma said he and his mother, Julie, discussed the idea of assisting an animal group in September. After calling the Animal Care Network and learning that they needed doghouses, he began his quest to build them. He said he searched online for ideas, built a prototype with his father and made adjustments afterward.
After Thoma and his fellow Scouts raised around $1,000 for the project and secured sources for supplies, it was time to get to work in November. That meant cutting the wood, painting the houses and shingling the roofs.
Thoma gave credit to his father for guidance and thanked the Boy Scout troop for its assistance. Thoma’s mother said the activity was a great experience for her son.
“It’s giving him a chance to put a project together from beginning to end and getting the cooperation from others … to accomplish something greater than he could by himself,” she said.
After building the doghouses, Thoma dropped off the finished structures at Corporate Auto Resource Specialists in Auburn Hills. Although five were given to Pontiac homes Dec. 22, the other doghouses will be given away at a later date, he said.
Animal Care Network manager Pam Porteous explained that her group’s outreach program helps Pontiac by assisting pet owners with food, straw bedding, doghouses and spaying or neutering for dogs and cats.
Porteous appreciated Thoma’s hard work. “We’re pretty excited about it,” she said. “They built some really sturdy doghouses. We have the dogs’ names stenciled on the doghouses. Jacob is a pretty great guy.”
Learn more about the Animal Care Network, an affiliate of the Michigan Animal Adoption Network, at www.michigananimaladoptionnetwork.org or at (248) 545-5055.