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DogFest in Edison on October 22nd

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Students on the East Brunswick and Piscataway campuses of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools are building tiny houses – for dogs and charity.

The doghouses will be auctioned off at the annual DogFest on Oct. 22 at Roosevelt Park in Edison to benefit Canine Companions for Independence, which trains dogs to assist people with physical disabilities.

“I think it’s great for the students to get involved in a project to help others,” said Javier Robles of Edison, a board member of Canine Companions.

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“It’s a useful activity for our students to do and it’s supporting a good organization,” said Sean McDonald, MCVTS director of career and technical education.

Two MCVTS students showed off a doghouse they helped build in the building trades/carpentry shop on the East Brunswick Campus. Called “The Doggenheim,” it was modeled after Frank Lloyd Wright’s circular Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

“It took a month to build,” said 12th-grader Ashly Rahman of New Brunswick. “The hardest part was bending the wood. We had to bend it fast.”

The students used recycled wood from pallets, steaming it and bending it around a PVC form.

“It’s for a small dog, six to 10 pounds, like a small terrier,” said 11th-grader Dylan Stratton of East Brunswick.

Another, larger doghouse built in East Brunswick was modeled after Snoopy’s residence in “Peanuts.” It will be auctioned on eBay, while the rest will be available as silent auction items at DogFest.

DogFest, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., will feature graduates of the New Jersey Chapter of Canine Companions, as well as volunteer puppy raisers. It will include an agility course, demonstrations, a doggie costume contest and a DJ.

“It’s a fun day at Roosevelt Park,” said Robles.

MCVTS staff will transport and display the student-built doghouses.

Canine Companions for Independence is a national nonprofit organization that provides trained assistance dogs, including service dogs and skilled companions that are trained to master 40 or more specialized commands and to perform such tasks as pulling a wheelchair, pushing buttons and carrying packages. More information is available online at cci.org.

The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District, the first full-time county vocational school district in the nation, has seven schools on five campuses, in East Brunswick, Edison, Piscataway, Perth Amboy and Woodbridge. More information is available at www.mcvts.net.

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