UNCC students use 3D printer help little pig get her hooves back

One little piggy is in the market for some new feet. She was rescued back in October, and her owner believes she was used as bait to help train hunting dogs-- which is why her feet fell off.

Now, some UNC Charlotte students are getting results and stepping up to get the hooves put back on.

"Having met her now, she is quite the character," said UNC Charlotte Senior Jared Dahl.

"I'm very grateful," said Donna Clendenin, who owns the pig. "Words are hard to explain, because I never thought anyone would help this little pig."

The UNCC students are measuring and fitting Wendy the pig for new feet.

"She was probably tied up to train hunting dogs," Clendenin said. "She had scarring around her middle and her feet were tied.  They were mummified-like.  They were dead and fell off."

Wendy was rescued back in October and has been an indoor pet at Lil House of Piggies Pig Rescue ever since.

"She's my little shadow," said Clendenin. She follows me everywhere in the house."

Clendenin worries that eventually, Wendy won't have enough support as she gets bigger.

"She's going to be twice as heavy on her joints," Clendenin said.  Arthritis may set in. So, if she has something to help her get along, it would help in the long run."

With help from the UNCC students, Wendy won't have to worry as much about what the future might hold.

"It will give her more mobility. I won't have to make that decision if she does get older to be put down if she can't walk," Clendenin said. "That would be really hard."

Many of the students involved in Wendy's projects are also involved in UNC Charlotte's chapter of The Helping Hands Project. It's a non-profit that produces 3D prosthetics.

"So we 3D print them on campus and assemble them and deliver them to families at no charge to the families," said UNCC Sophomore Kyle Manning.

The group is designing a device to get Wendy back on her feet.

"She is mobile, but she needs more support," said Dahl. "So as she grows in size and starts moving outside, her feet don't receive more damage and she can live a happy and healthy lifestyle."

The group hopes to have a prototype for Wendy within the next two weeks.

“Thank you for helping my pig,” Clendenin said.