On a roll: Engineering students’ device boosts quality of life for cancer-survivor dog

Last fall, three College of Engineering students working as on-campus co-ops at New Mexico State University designed and built a wheelchair device to assist a dog who had his right hind leg amputated due to cancer earlier last year.

Through the Aggie Innovation Space, Aggie Innovators Natalia Perez, Abdiel Jimenez and Arturo Dominguez designed and created a customized device for the 17-year-old Kita and his owner, Michelle Lebsock.

Perez, Jimenez and Dominguez met with Kita and Lebsock many times to determine the correct height, comfort and restraint requirements of the device. Ease of assembly and disassembly were also important factors the Aggie Innovators had to consider to ensure the device

was portable and easy to use. “The AIS team became very passionate about this project, sharing ideas, collaborating to assess specific constraints and requirements, and evaluating ideas for build-out materials,” Jimenez says.

“This project reminded us how engineers can enhance quality of life, and made us realize that our duty as engineers is not just for people and the environment but for our furry friends that make our lives happier,” Perez says.

Tiffany Acosta

Aggie Innovator Arturo Dominguez, left, and Michelle Lebsock pose with Lebsock’s 17-year-old dog, Kita, in his finished wheelchair. The device was designed and built by students in the Aggie Innovation Space at the College of Engineering.