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Lost and found

Vet Tech takes in newborn rescue puppies

Divya Jagadeesh, News/feature editor

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In Veterinary Science teacher Stacy Schertz’s classroom, students crowd around three puppies. Kids can fit them in the palm of a hand, but take extra care to carry the barely two-week-old animals. Some students feed the dogs through bottles and put in pacifiers when they’ve finished. When the other students hear how the puppies ended with Schertz, they are shocked and hold the babies closer.

The three puppies were found by Security Guard Blair Benter’s rescue and are now staying with Veterinary Science teacher Stacy Schertz’ classes as the students take care of the newborns until they can be adopted through Tails from the Heart.

“We think they were born on Saint Patrick’s Day, which must have been very lucky for them because they were found on the side of the road in a trash bag,” Benter said.

Tails from the Heart is a nonprofit organization that takes dogs from high-kill shelters and tries to find people to adopt them.

“[The rescue] started about a year ago, and what we do is entirely volunteer-based; we run on donations and all of our dogs are in foster homes,” Benter said.

The litter originally had seven puppies, but one passed while the remaining six were sent home with Benter and another volunteer from the rescue.

“Since they needed to be fed every couple of hours, I needed to find a way that they could come to work with me,” Benter said. “And Ms. Schertz is all for having them as long as they can.”

Schertz said she was willing to take them in so she could help the puppies and give her students a new, hands-on experience.

“The interactions the kids have is such a neat experience for them, and as far as having [the puppies] in class, there’s always something going on whether it’s an explosion that needs to be cleaned up, a bath that needs to be given or a bottle that needs to fed,” Schertz said. “Everyone works together.”

The students take care of the puppies during the week, and Benter takes them home after work. During school hours, the puppies are bottle-fed and given the attention they need as babies.

“We feed them, and we give them lots of loving; we pet them because that’s important,” junior Krista Holmes said. “They need that. Human children need that, and [puppies] need that. If you don’t have your hands on them a lot, they won’t get used to that, so you got to get them used to interactions.”

Holmes and Schertz both say taking care of the puppies helps with students’ training to become veterinarians.

“As a lot of us aspire to be vets, and veterinarians need to know how to take care of little animals,” Holmes said. “It also helps teach us how to be gentle with them, and how to care for them correctly.”

When the puppies in Schertz and her students’ care are eight weeks old, Tails from the Heart will put them up for adoption.

“The great thing is that these puppies are bringing awareness to the other dogs that need to be adopted, which is really nice,” Schertz said. “As soon as I heard the story of how they were found — as I’m sure happens to all of us — my heart broke a little bit, but the compassion all the students have here is phenomenal, so they’ll take in anything.”

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