MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Peg is an 8-month-old Indian Runner Duck who has been without a foot all of his life. Now, thanks to the work of a group of Armorel EAST Lab 8th graders, he can now walk.
Patsy Smith, his owner, has raised ducks for years. None of them as unique as Peg.
"We found Peg sitting on the bank and he hadn't been hatched long," said Smith. "Then when I picked him up I noticed his foot was gone and was in horrible condition. Evidently a turtle had bitten his foot off."
Smith said as Peg began to grow, his injured foot became irritated.
"I began to do a lot of research and I even reached out to a company in Ontario, Canada to a rescue group in Tennessee," said Smith.
That's when the Armorel EAST Lab found out about her dilemma and wanted to help.
"We already were looking into ways of creating sophisticated creations with our 3-D printer and we saw that we could do just that for a duck," said Alicia Bell, EAST Lab facilitator. "Animals bring everyone together and this was just a great way to show how work in the classroom can impact real life."
So three students, Abby Simmons, Matthew Cook and Darshan Patel spent months 3-D printing a prosthetic leg for Peg.
"We thought it was just going to be a shaft with a hole in it connected to a foot but it was much more complicated than that," said Cook.
"It was really frustrating because we had to make sure it fit him perfectly and we had to start over due to some issues with the printing but it all worked out in the end," said Simmons.
Bell said it took 30 tries before they finally got the perfect prosthetic leg for Peg.
"The very first model which was not very good, that was what we were learning and from now it is a completely different process," said Bell.
Smith said she is very grateful for their kind actions.
"To have these students locally to express interest with Ms. Bell, I was just elated and it has been a wonderful learning experience," said Smith.
Alfredo Hernandez, Peg's caretaker, was also very thankful.
"I just think it is a miracle that he can walk now," said Hernandez.
Now, Peg is walking and running around like a normal duck.
"Well not only is it heartwarming but it is exciting and I am just so grateful that there are people that truly care and they have gone out of their way to do all they can to make it as comfortable for the duck," said Smith.