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'Pawsitive' outcome to a tale about a boy and his dog (house)

'When I saw some negative comments on the post — that was the last straw'

Felix Leclerc and classmates were dogged in perfecting their final project for their woodworking course at St. Joseph–Scollard Hall and earned themselves an "A."

However, it was what grade 10 student Leclerc did with his shop class dog house that has earned him top marks from total strangers online — and especially his proud mother, Noémie.

As parents can attest, out of lack of need or clashing aesthetics, not all assigned school shop projects find a place in the young designers' family homes. The Leclercs have a dog but the handcrafted house did not suit their pet. Inevitably, the projects are donated to organizations or people who will put those creations to good use.

A natural place to drop off a dog house is the local Humane Society but the nearly 16-year-old Felix learned — despite their appreciation for the offer — the need for a dog house was low at this time.

Noémie says that didn't deter Felix as the Leclercs ventured into virtual territory and tried to sell the dog house on an online buy and sell page — with the understanding Felix would donate the proceeds to the Humane Society.

As is the trolling nature of the online world, their post elicited some negative feedback. Enter Karrie Emms who gladly paid the $50 price.

"I believe in paying it forward and the ripple effect. If you toss a stone how far do the ripples go? When I saw some negative comments on the post — that was the last straw."

Emms has decided to go one step farther with the project. Through her downtown Gateway to the Arts store, the plan is to have youth artists take turns painting and decorating the dog house. 

From there, the dog house will be donated to a charity in need or auctioned off with the funds to be donated. "It's sort of a gift that will keep on giving," Emms says.

"We have the opportunity to help this young man make a positive impact not only in the group he is helping but in the life of our younger artists and a second charity group," explains Emms, noting Gateway to the Arts has a previous charitable relationship with All Heart Pet Rescue.

While Emms decides how to proceed with her new dog house purchase, Leclerc has since donated the $50 to the North Bay and District Humane Society (see photo gallery).

Even more encouraging to Noémie, the positive comments far outnumbered the negative.

"Social media nowadays, it's so negative," she says. "That's why it was nice to see so many shares and encouragement. It really warmed my heart."