Huts help keep dogs happy, fit

Girl Scout Alexis Hinz, 13, is pictured with a dog on top of a obstacle dog hut at the Martin County Humane Society in Fairmont. Hinz created the huts for the Humane Society for her Silver Award project.

Getting exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and that holds just as true for four-legged friends as it does for the rest of us.

We also know that exercise is a lot easier if it’s fun. With this in mind, local Girl Scout Alexis Hinz of Troop 33664 recently committed her time and effort to building obstacle dog huts for the Humane Society in Fairmont as her Girl Scout Silver Award project.

“I really like the idea of helping animals, so I figured I would do want to do something with animals,” said Hinz, 13. “So I looked at the Humane Society and I saw the outside pens didn’t have much in them, and I decided I would try to build something the dogs could use outside.”

She approached the Humane Society to offer her idea, which was accepted. From there, Hinz began drawing out ideas for what she was going to do.

“The idea I had was chosen because it had the most different things for the dogs to do,” Hinz said. “There is an angled roof so the rain will not sit on top, there’s a ramp for climbing, and stairs. The stairs on the hut are for climbing, but also can help the dogs get used to climbing stairs for the dogs who have not climbed stairs before.”

Hinz said the construction process was a lot of work, a sentiment she says was shared by her parents.

“At first we were worried about her using all these power tools,” said Hinz’s adviser and mother, Chelsie. “But she ended up doing 75 percent of the cutting and using a nail gun. Before this we hadn’t really trusted her with all these, but final you just have to back off and let her do it.”

Hinz put in more than 24 hours worth of work on the project, with some help.

“My family helped me build it and paint it,” she said. “Nancy and Michele (Nelson) helped me get through it, and other girl scouts helped me paint the trim pieces. It was good experience and something new to try.”