Ringer A Special Dog with a Special Job

The Macomb Community College Veterinary Technician Program in Clinton Township, Mich. has a very special mascot. Her name is Ringer, and she is a 7 month-old brindle Boxer with a huge personality. As a mascot at the college, Ringer’s job is to help relieve the day-to-day stresses of students in the Veterinary Technician Program. The students look forward to seeing her every day, and having her present in most of their classes. Ringer entertains herself at the front of the lecture hall by playing with her toys, and will make regular romps through the room to visit the students in their seats. When she is not in the lecture classes Ringer can be found in the teaching hospital, keeping an eye on things, and sometimes causing mischief.

Ringer, the Macomb Community College Veterinary Technician Program Mascot.

Although her life seems charmed now, Ringer has not always had it so easy. When she was just a few days old, she became very ill after having surgery to remove her dewclaws. Her littermates remained healthy, but Ringer developed a localized infection at the site of the dewclaw removal. The infection quickly spread throughout her body, including her brain. Ringer developed hydrocephalus secondary to the infection. Hydrocephalus is a condition marked by excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. It can result in enlargement of the head and possibly shrinking of the brain. The chances of Ringer living were not good, as she also developed infections in the joints on her front and rear right legs, as well as a huge abscess on her chest.

The prognosis was not positive for Ringer. If she were to survive, there was a chance that she would be blind, have limited use of her legs, be mentally retarded, or have seizures. In fact, when she was about four weeks old she was beginning to show neurological problems and blindness. However, her owner, Lori Renda-Francis, licensed Veterinary Technician and the director of the veterinary technology program at Macomb, refused to give up on her. She encouraged Ringer to keep fighting and a visit to a veterinary specialist resulted in a medication change. Ringer didn’t give up and soon after her medication was changed her health improved. Today, Ringer has no noticeable effects of her long ordeal as a puppy except that she is slightly smaller than others in her age group. But what Ringer doesn’t have in size, she makes up with her personality.

Throughout her ordeal, Ringer would come to work with Lori at the college so her condition could be closely monitored. During that time the students and staff became very attached to her and made sure her treatment plan was followed closely. The Dean of the department suggested that Ringer become the canine mascot for the veterinary technician program and the rest is history. Ringer joins another program mascot Scrubs, a kitten that was orphaned four years ago. The two of them play a huge role in educating grade school and high school children in the community about veterinary technicians.

Ringer has gone from a puppy with an uncertain future to an important part of the Veterinary Technician Program at Macomb Community College through lots of love, nurturing, and skilled nursing care at the hands of veterinary technicians. It is only fitting that she has now become an honorary member of the profession.

NAVTA is a nonprofit organization that represents and promotes the profession of Veterinary Technology. NAVTA provides direction, education, support, and coordination for its members, and works with other allied professional organizations for the competent care and humane treatment of animals. Incorporated in 1981, NAVTA is the national organization devoted exclusively to developing and enhancing the profession of veterinary technology.


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