CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When the mom of Bentley, a jolly golden retriever, got him as a puppy, she knew she had a best friend forever.
"I can't imagine my life without him," Ashley Liberto, Bentley's mom, said.
But in 2022, then 8 years old, Bentley didn't seem to be himself anymore.
"Starting in February, he started to get a swollen elbow, so I took him to the vet and found out he had a soft tissue sarcoma in his elbow, and the only option was to put him down or take his leg," Liberto shared.
The vet had to amputate Bentley’s right front leg.
"It was very nerve-racking, scary; it was very emotional," Liberto said.
After the surgery, Bentley was still very much himself, chasing after tennis balls and sticks, just a little slower with one less leg.
"It was amazing to see his recovery and will to live," Liberto said.
However, now he gets tired easily since he's compensating for his missing leg. That's when Liberto, a math teacher at Providence Day School, realized maybe some of her former students could help Bentley.
The students in the school's 3D printing class got the assignment and got to work, despite this being a major upgrade to their current projects.
"We were working on simple stuff like keychains, this was a very massive leap," Brandon Hollis, a senior at Providence, admitted.
But they were up to the challenge. Hollis and his classmates created a harness and a prosthetic leg after meeting Bentley.
"How can you not help Bentley, obviously," Hollis said. "Just seeing Bentley walk into class and seeing the very real impact this project was going to have was really something special."
The students still have to make a few tweaks, but Liberto and Bentley are thrilled.
"Students are amazing," Liberto said. "They have such an imagination. They want to do big things In life."
Bentley is now cancer free and still gets to use the new harness and temporary leg. The final prosthesis should be ready in a few weeks.
It's a new leash on life, thanks to these highly creative Providence Day School students and his very loving dog mom.
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