Murphy’s Law turned upside down

PET PROJECT—Rockford High School teacher Ryan Whitmore is pictured….(what’s he doing?)

PET PROJECT—Rockford High School teacher Ryan Whitmore is pictured….(what’s he doing?)

Turns out maybe “Murphy’s Law” isn’t such a bad thing after all. After a high school industrial arts class and a new local animal and pet assistance group came together, they’re changing the way people might think about the old rule of bad luck.

Rockford High School Industrial Arts teacher Ryan Whitmore needed a project. New local non-profit organization Murphy’s Pet Project needed some doghouses. And thanks to a mutual acquaintance bringing the two together, Whitmore filled his need for a building project, and Murphy’s Pet Project is about to be on the receiving end of 26 custom built windproof doghouses for donation to needy Grand Rapids area residents.

Due to Rockford’s new trimester student schedule, Whitmore needed a small scale construction project for his Woods classes.

“Because of various time constraints this particular trimester, we needed a project that would in some way simulate house construction with framing and angles. In the past we’ve built storage sheds, but time didn’t allow us to build the sheds.”

Enter Murphy’s Pet Project. Murphy’s Pet Project is a newly formed non-profit organization dedicated to helping needy families meet the sometimes substantial financial burdens pet ownership can bring.

According to co-founder Melissa Muir, Murphy’s can help families and their pets in a variety of ways. “Murphy’s was developed out of a combination of love for animals and the desire to help loving families keep their pets and keep them safe and healthy. Especially in an economy like this one, families are faced with difficult decisions. We didn’t want financial issues to be a factor in families deciding whether they could continue to keep a pet.”

Muir also stated that Murphy’s fills a void in the area, as other advocacy groups do not offer the type of assistance Murphy’s Pet Project does.

Among others, she cited costly and sometimes unaffordable surgery, medications, food, and sometimes even dog houses. “While no dog should be an ‘outdoor pet,’ if people see an outdoor dog without proper shelter, Murphy’s Pet Project will provide the dog a quality shelter, hay for further insulation, and often a bag of food as well,” she added. The group also assists families with cats and other domesticated pets in the West Michigan area.

From Whitmore’s perspective, the situation was a win/win. “It’s worked out really well. Because of the smaller scale, I’ve been able to involve students more efficiently, and kids are getting more hands on experience than they might have with the shed project.”

Whitmore found a design online for a simple yet protective dog house, and his students began construction on the houses in early January, and the classes finished the houses February 27. Murphy’s will begin placing the houses immediately.

Adding to the community spirit of the project, the Rockford High Student Council has pitched in approximately $1200 toward cost of materials, about half of the total bill. Murphy’s is still seeking donations to finish funding the project.

Student Council President Tanya Kolenbrander stated, “the project was brought to our attention, and we all felt like it was a great cause. Family pets are often the first thing to go when money gets tight, and those are the times when families need their companions most. It’s a little more unique than some of the groups who have approached us, and we liked the idea of being able to help families in the community.”

Muir was very enthusiastic about the good fortune that brought the two groups together. “We can’t thank the students at Rockford enough for their hard work and the Student Council for their generous donation,” Muir added. “We’re very excited about what’s been able to happen there, and it’s a relationship we hope will continue.”

Those interested in contacting Murphy’s Pet Project to donate, request assistance, or request one of the newly built doghouses can go to HYPERLINK “”, or call 616-825-6319 for more information.

Thankfully for the family pets of the greater Grand Rapids area, in this case, Murphy’s Law is a good thing.

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.