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Animal charity benefits from student-built dog houses

St. Mary’s College students build dog houses for Northern Critters in Need
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Melinda Boston and Mary Lynn Bonell, St. Mary’s College employees/Northern Critters in Need volunteers, with St. Mary’s College students Kyle Dawson, Anthony DeLorenzi, Forrest Berry and Eugene Pagliaro, St. Mary’s College construction teacher, Jan. 23, 2020. Darren Taylor/SooToday

A group of St. Mary’s College students presented Northern Critters in Need representatives with three dog houses they built in the school’s construction class Thursday. 

Northern Critters in Need, a volunteer-based registered charity, has representatives in the Sault, Thunder Bay and Ignace (a township in the Kenora District), and rescues lost, abandoned, unwanted and abused animals (mostly dogs, a smaller number of cats).

Mary Lynn Bonell, a St. Mary’s College administrative assistant, and Melinda Boston, a St. Mary’s College librarian, were on hand for the dog house hand over, each of them Northern Critters in Need representatives.

Bonell does home visits to meet and approve any one who wants to take in an unwanted pet.

“The organization is very diligent about doing checks, about where the animals are going to be living, because they’ve already come from somewhere in need,” Boston said.

Those interested in taking in a lost, abandoned, unwanted or abused animal may go to the Northern Critters in Need Facebook page for more information, see an application form and an album of photos showing animals which are available for rescue.

“The kids did a great job,” Bonell said of the dog houses.

Northern Critters in Need will raffle off the dog houses to raise money for the organization.

The registered charity accepts pet food, toys and cash donations (charity receipts are issued for cash donations over $20).

St. Mary’s College students split up into teams to construct the dog houses.

“It’s a good partnership. The kids learned the great skill of building them and then it goes toward a great cause,” said Eugene Pagliaro, St. Mary’s College construction teacher, adding it is rewarding for him as a teacher to see his students work on projects together from scratch.

“We put a lot of work into ours,” said St. Mary’s College Grade 12 student Anthony DeLorenzi, part of a four-member team which worked on a barn-style dog house.

“We were really looking for a barn design look with the white trim and the curved roof. We started two and a half weeks ago. It was definitely a big learning experience. If I was to do it again it would be a little bit easier, but it feels good we’re donating the dog houses because at the end of the day it’s better to give than to keep them for ourselves,” DeLorenzi said. 

Several St. Mary’s College students, including DeLorenzi, will be heading off to Skills Ontario competitions in the spring, using their construction skills.


Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
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