Eagle Scout builds doghouses for pet shelter

By Sara Bruestle | Jun 19, 2013
Courtesy of: Humane Society Nick Moore poses with Charmer the dog in front of one of the six doghouses he built for his Eagle Scout project. Moore earned his Eagle rank on June 13.

Nick Moore helped to house dogs in need while earning his Eagle Scout rank – even though he considers himself more of a “cat person.”

Moore, a junior at Kamiak High School, completed all of the requirements on June 13, a year before his 18th birthday, the deadline for achieving scouting’s highest award.

His Court of Honor ceremony will be held in August after he returns from Boy Scout camp. Moore is from Everett Troop 114.

“We’re excited and very proud, certainly,” said Mike Moore, Nick’s dad and scoutmaster. “There’s a lot of work involved and … it is a great accomplishment.”

There are seven requirements – including 21 merit badges, a service project and six months in a leadership role – before scouts may become an Eagle Scout.

For his service project, Moore and about 15 volunteers built six large doghouses for the Humane Society’s HappyPaws Farm in Arlington. Each house is 5 feet wide, 4 feet deep and 3 feet high and weighs 250 pounds.

The farm’s doghouses were about 10 years old, rotting and needed to be replaced. Moore designed the houses out of treated wood, so that they are waterproof and will last twice as long.

“The old doghouses were really bare bones kind of things, with stick siding and some frames,” Moore said. “I decided to make the doghouses a lot more sturdy and better.”

Moore led the project. It took about 250 man hours to design the first house, cut the wood, paint it red like a barn, and build the prototype, followed by five more.

“It was a really difficult job,” Moore said. “We had a lot to do in little time. We had to build these huge doghouses in about three hours because I had a friend’s Court of Honor to go to the same day. It was definitely a push.”

Lowes donated the materials for five of the doghouses, which cost $180 to make. Moore fundraised for the sixth house and donated $450 for veterinary care.

“It was like Cub Scouts all over again, when you’re building your treasure chests out of pre-cut wood,” Moore said.

Moore’s team also delivered the doghouses to the farm, which was a feat in and of itself. They stacked the houses into a pyramid and strapped them on a small trailer. It took four of them to carry one doghouse.

“There were certainly easier projects that he could have taken on,” Mike Moore said. “That’s one of the things I was impressed with, was he was interested in taking on an aggressive Eagle Scout project. I thought that was really neat.”

The new doghouses were delivered just in time, too – the farm recently took in six dogs that had belonged to a mother and daughter who were found dead June 8 and 9 in Arlington.

“It was a lucky thing that we got into contact with them and built extra doghouses for them,” Moore said. “Otherwise, they would not have enough room for these dogs.”

Moore, of Everett, actually had 30 merit badges, nine more than required. His badges included personal fitness, rifle shooting, nuclear science, swimming, geology, basketry, woodcarving and first aid.

His favorite was the nuclear science badge, because he’d always been into science. He said the badge made him realize he wants to grow up to be a scientist – specifically a synthetic biologist.

For one of his badges, Moore decided to host a kibble fundraiser for HappyPaws. That’s when he found out that the farm was in need of some new doghouses – and consequently, found his Eagle project.

“I’m helping out the community,” Moore said. “They don’t just do this for the dogs they receive, but they give out kibble and funds go to vet bills to help out low income. For me, that was pretty cool.”

He also served as assistant patrol leader and patrol leader of his troop, helped out during troop outings, and coached the other boys in scouting.

This summer he’ll be leading again as a staffer at Camp Parsons, a Boy Scout Camp in Brinnon, Wash.

“Only on the way back from school, on the bus, did I realize, ‘Wow, my year is over,’” he said. “School is done, and I finished my Eagle on the same day. This is when my learning stops and I become a teacher.”

Moore may be a “cat person” – he has two cats at home – but he said he’s always liked dogs.

“If I could have a dog, I would, but one of my cats doesn’t like dogs,” he said. “Plus, my mom would never allow it.”

HappyPaws Farm takes in dogs and cats that have been neglected, abused or otherwise need care.

The pets live in a farm-like setting, not in cages. They are free to roam seven acres of grassy farmland – until volunteers find them a loving home.

“We are a farm, so our dog runs are large, and though the dogs live in heated barns, we always need outside doghouses to keep the sun and rain off the dogs during the day,” said Linda Hunter, executive director of the Humane Society.

“Nick did a particularly good job in building and painting these doghouses. The dogs like them very much.”

The old doghouses are now available free to pet owners on food stamps by calling 360-652-5844. For more information, go to www.saveourdogs.com.

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