LOGAN — Bruce Bruce’s goose might have been cooked following an unfortunate encounter with a raccoon if it weren’t for 3D printing technology.
It was just the thing to fill the bill.
“When he first came in, he … I don’t want to say depressed, but he wasn’t himself,” Susan Curtis, the director of Sandy’s Haven, an animal rescue facility in Preston, Idaho, said Friday.
But who wouldn’t be after losing the top part of their honker to a masked critter?
“And as soon as I looked at him I was like, ‘Oh my goodness. This guy wants to be here. He wants to live. We’ve got to figure out a way to help him.”
Curtis turned to volunteers at the 4-H Cache Makers, a youth group of the STEAM Center and Community Makerspace at the Bridgerland Technical College, where, among other things, they have a 3D printer. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math education.
Volunteers spent hours studying goose bills, and designing a new one.
But the prototype wasn’t quite right.
“So we did a lot of trial and error, fixing the bill, and then remodeling it and fixing it again,” said volunteer Carmen Ramirez.
The second try was a honkin’ success.
“Well of course,” volunteer John Meade said. “I mean, you saw him. He was strutting around like, ‘Look what I’ve got now.’”
The results are way beyond what Curtis expected.
“Seeing Bruce complete and using his bill … it’s just been a phenomenal thing,” she said.
“I think it’s amazing. They’ve done an amazing job,” said Vicky Taylor, who owns the farm where Bruce Bruce has lived for about 12 years.
The prosthetic allows Bruce Bruce to eat in a fairly normal fashion again and is secured with a dental adhesive-type product.
Bruce Bruce remain with the rescue as a therapy animal helping humans who get prosthetics.