GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — When a woman who works at the Central Nebraska Humane Society knows of a need and her nephew is looking for an Eagle Scout project, you can just about guess what happens next.
One hundred and 56 man hours later, the Humane Society has a new obstacle and agility course for its shelter dogs.
The course was the Eagle Scout project of Jeremiah Reeser, a junior at Heartland Lutheran High School.
His aunt, Tonia Reeser, is an animal care technician at the Humane Society. She knew her nephew was in the market for an Eagle Scout project.
“So, I said, ‘I’ve got a great idea for you,’” she said.
A half-dozen people helped Jeremiah with his pet project, which includes barrels and tires for dogs to pass through, ramps and a couple of balance beams. The young people built and painted all of the items themselves.
The Grand Island Independent (http://bit.ly/1Y6vT7b ) report that the course is just west of the Humane Society building.
Humane Society Executive Director Laurie Dethloff said the course will be used to test high-energy dogs to serve as search-and-rescue aides or for drug or bomb detection. It will also provide mental and physical stimulation for shelter dogs and more opportunities for volunteers who are handling the dogs.
Dethloff referred to that benefit as enrichment. Volunteers learn a skill or ways to communicate with dogs, and that keeps it interesting for both, she said.
Before the course was built, the Humane Society used a junk pile made of objects found around the shelter for testing. The new course is safer, offers more skills on which to test dogs and looks better, Dethloff said.
Reeser hopes the course will allow dogs to have a good time and “not be as grouchy” as they might be when they’re cooped up inside. He believes it will also teach dogs skills so that, when people come to adopt them, the animals will be better trained and more obedient.
Reeser, who will turn 17 in January, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 114.
By next year, three Eagles will be the wind beneath the wings of Kristen and Michael Reeser. Jeremiah’s 18-year-old brother, Jonathan, is already an Eagle Scout. Their younger brother, Jared, will probably become one next year.
One of Kristen Reeser’s goals before she became a mother was that, if she had boys, they would become Eagle Scouts.
Scouting is good because it allows them to interact with boys their own age, she said. They also “learn some morals and learn the standards of what life is really about, because nowadays it’s kind of hard to find that,” she said.
Jeremiah enjoys Scouting because he likes being outdoors and hanging out with other guys.
Some people call him Roadrunner because he’s the fastest player on the Heartland Lutheran football team. He plays wide receiver and cornerback. He’s also on the track team.
Another member of his family played some football. His 85-year-old grandfather, Gus Holubeck, is an Air Force veteran who lives in Bellevue. Besides being a former B-52 pilot, Holubeck played football at Ohio State under Coach Woody Hayes in the 1950s.
Kristen Reeser said Jeremiah is very responsible.
“I’m glad he’s doing a project that’s going to help dogs out because we always get our dogs from here,” she said, referring to the Humane Society.
Jeremiah Reeser received help on the project from his aunt’s friend Angie Solis and Janet Smith, the Humane Society’s assistant director. Also pitching in were Jeremiah’s brother Jared and his friends, John Campbell and Chance Boreson.