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Furry Tails: Giving Dakota A Lift

By: KDKA-TV Digital Producer Heather Lang

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- "Old dogs are the best dogs."

That's why a Robert Morris University professor and his students decided to give a lift to an aging dog in Moon Township who is beginning to lose control of his back legs.

Dakota, the 10-year-old gentle German Shepherd, is beginning to struggle on his walks.

RMU engineering professor Arif Sirinterlikci took notice of Dakota's struggles in their neighborhood and wanted to help.

So he first went to Dakota's owner, Ginger Stage, to talk about how he could give the aging dog some support. At 90 pounds, Dakota is not so easily mobile.

(Photo Courtesy: Robert Morris University)

That's how the plan started to grow.

Next, the professor went to his colleagues and students at Robert Morris. They decided to use their greatest strength to help Dakota. Their study of engineering.

The plan developed into a class project — create a crane and wheelchair to help Dakota gain back some mobility.

They got to work in the John Jay Center at RMU where they designed, fabricated, assembled and tested the equipment till they got it right.

After weeks of development, both are ready for Ginger and Dakota.

The crane attaches to the back of Ginger's SUV. It clips to a specially-made harness and helps lift Dakota in and out of the back of the vehicle. This way he doesn't have to jump with his bad back legs.

The crane sets him gently down in his new wheelchair and he can pull himself along with his front legs.

(Photo Courtesy: Robert Morris University)
(Photo Courtesy: Robert Morris University)

The new devices will take some getting used to, but both will give Dakota the mobility he needs to get out and about again.

And help Ginger get her best friend again moving by her side.

A lift that is sure to make them both happier.

Stay tuned animal lovers for more Furry Tails! You can follow me on Twitter at @HeatherLang24

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