RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – 8th-grade math teachers at Lincoln Middle School are working with CNM on a new project called Houses for Hounds. The project, funded by a PNM grant, aims to get kids excited about construction trades industry careers that involve math, by teaching them how to build dog houses for homeless pets at Watermelon Mountain Ranch.

“Kids are hearing everyone has to go to college, and for those kids that are interested in working with their hands, they may not see options, they might not realize that you can go to cnm a college and become an electrician, or a carpenter or someone who can be out in a construction management job.”

Samantha Sengel, Vice President of Advancement and Enrollment Strategy at CNM

It’s all part of the district’s growing Career Technical Education Program or CTEP. Starting in February, 70 kids across three 8th-grade math classes will spend three days a week learning the practical skills needed to build their dog house. Then, once a month, industry professionals from companies like Jaynes Corporation will spend a class period helping kids actually build the house. By May, the students will have built 15 dog houses, and when the shelter pet they build the house forgets adopted, their new owners will keep the house they built.

“Being able to partner with students in general is such a huge deal for us, humane education, having students really understand the empathy for shelter pets, that means the world.”

Sara Hefferen, Executive Director of Watermelon Mountain Ranch

Watermelon Ranch says right now they have roughly 80 dogs on the property, 20 in the mall adoption center, and 50 more in foster care. That means there are about 150 dogs in need of homes.

“For our long term dogs, a lot of them don’t understand a dog door, don’t understand how to go inside because they’ve spent so much of their lives before as outside and not part of a family, so having these dog houses gives them a sense of security. “

Sara Hefferen, Executive Director of Watermelon Mountain Ranch

KRQE’s digital team will be heading back out to check the student’s progress and to see the final product in May.