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For the dogs: Mount Shasta teen builds, donates canine agility equipment as Eagle Scout project

Kelsey Shelton
Mount Shasta Herald
Siskiyou Humane society employee Moriah Delmar, left, and Deb Freeman, right, stand with Josh Bonivert, who is accompanied by Scarlett and Briar, two animals currently up for adoption at the Siskiyou Humane Society.

Mount Shasta teen Josh Bonivert last week donated a collection of homemade canine agility equipment to the Siskiyou Humane Society as part of his Boy Scout Eagle Scout project.

Bonivert, a senior at Mount Shasta High School, donated 40 to 50 hours of community service and acquired 22 merit badges on his journey. The project will allow him to make the jump from Life Scout to Eagle Scout – a goal he’s been working toward since age 10.

Josh Bonivert, a 17 year old Mount Shasta High School student sits on equipment he made himself for the Siskiyou Humane Society. The equipment can be used for activity and agility training for dogs.

According to the Boy Scouts of America, since its inception in 1911, only 4% of Scouts have earned this rank. 

Bonivert’s parents, Amanda and Dustin Bonivert, couldn’t be more proud. 

“Eagle Scout is a high achievement to get,” said Dustin. “Josh  has put a lot of work into it.”

The equipment is made of wood and provides multi-level agility ramps which accommodate dogs of most sizes. 

The ramps can easily be re-configured and changed in position. According to Bonivert, the color choice of blue and yellow relates to a dog’s eyesight. 

Mount Shasta's Josh Bonivert watches dog Briar use the equipment he crafted for donation to the Siskiyou Humane Society as part of his Eagle Scout project.

“Blue and yellow are two colors that dogs respond to the best. It helps them see height variation,” he said.

Humane Society employee  Moriah Delmar and trainer Deb Freeman couldn’t be happier with the new equipment. 

“The dogs are going to have so much fun!” said Freeman. 

“The dogs will have fun, and we will have a lot of fun too,” said Delmar. 

The equipment can be used for a variety of training and agility exercises which can assist with a dog’s development.

“With equipment like this, the dogs don’t know what to do with it. But once we work with them and they get rewards, then they will connect their training with behavior,” said Freeman. 

She hopes that once the Humane Society is open to the public again, they can lead play groups or easy agility trainings utilizing the equipment.

Since its founding in 1968, the Siskiyou Humane Society Adoption Center in Mount Shasta has provided rescue and refuge for hundreds of homeless cats and dogs every year. They are not affiliated with, nor do they receive funding from, the Humane Society of the U.S.

Bonivert, age 17, officially became a Life Scout at the end of his freshman year, and it has taken him about three years to earn all of the hours necessary for the Eagle Scout rank.

He received donations of paint from Ace Hardware and  funding was donated by Lynn Teuscher of Aiello, Goodrich & Teuscher of Mount Shasta. 

Bonivert noted that while COVID-19 didn’t slow down the building process, it did halt the opportunity to acquire help from younger scouts. But, even without help, the project didn’t take as long as expected to complete. “He was at home more, so the process was accelerated,” said Dustin. 

When asked why he chose to donate to the Humane Society, Bonivert said animals are something that he really cares about. 

“I chose the animal shelter because I love dogs and animals, and it will be a great way to help them out and exercise them.” 

Now that the project is complete, Bonivert has cleared the way for other young scouts to begin their own work in assisting the community. “There are lots of young scouts who are about to become ‘lifers’ who are always having trouble finding volunteer hours,” he said.

Now that his hours have been completed, Josh will have some administrative tasks to complete on his way to Eagle Scout, but he has finished his core requirements.