The Butler Tech Natural Science Center is thrilled in welcoming a golden-brown and white miniature mare, named Sandy, to their family. She joins the Veterinary Science program in helping students learn how to administer care to animals for the improvement of their wellbeing.
“She definitely has a lot of personality,” says Gabby Cranford-Renner, Veterinarian Science junior. “It’s such a touching experience to bond with an animal when you see how much they’ve gone through. She’s just amazing, and we’re glad to have her.”
Sandy’s gentle temperament makes her a good match for students interested in working with larger animals. When she’s not satisfying her hearty appetite with a bale of hay, she’s working with students to learn new commands in lunging exercises and helping them practice their handling skills with long walks through the school’s pastures.
Sandy enjoys her time bonding with students, but the path she traveled to reach this point is filled with hardships that threatened her health.
Monroe Police discovered Sandy wandering along Cincinnati-Dayton Road in the rain on a Friday night in October. According to police, this was an unusual sight, and with the night growing colder, made a call to the Natural Science Center.
“The police know we have animals and thought that maybe she was one of ours,” explains Dana Martin, Veterinary Science instructor. Martin says that while Butler Tech normally cannot accept abandoned or stray animals, she took in Sandy because of deteriorating weather conditions. “We decided to keep her overnight thinking the owner would come forward the next day.”
Martin examined Sandy and quickly established she was in poor health. She was malnourished to where you could easily feel each of her ribs. Within days, Sandy was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, a 104-degree fever and parasites draining her daily intake of nutrition. Martin immediately began a treatment plan with the help of a local veterinarian. Sandy spent ten days quarantined in a stable to ensure the health of the other animals while taking antibiotics and slowly being de-wormed.
Staff and students couldn’t resist falling in love with her from the moment she arrived. The husband of the campus’ farm manager suggested to name her Sandy, after a character from the famed cartoon series, SpongeBob Squarepants.
“In the show, one of SpongeBob’s best friends is a brown squirrel named Sandy. Since our pony’s name is SpongeBob, we thought, ‘Of course! Now our SpongeBob can have his best friend Sandy by his side.’ It was the perfect fit for her,” says Cranford-Renner.
Today, Sandy is in much better health with her target weight in sight and continues working well with the students.