MSA’s ‘miracle pig’ goes under the knifeMinnesota Math and Science Academy science teacher Stacy Bartlett has a variety of classroom pets, but one of them recently needed a little extra care.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Minnesota Math and Science Academy science teacher Stacy Bartlett has a variety of classroom pets, but one of them recently needed a little extra care.
Bear, a guinea pig, recently underwent two surgeries to remove a tumor on her side thanks to the efforts of Bartlett’s students and the Inver Grove Heights Animals Hospital.
Several weeks ago MSA eighth grader Luisa Resendiz had Bear home with her over spring break when she noticed a large lump on the guinea pig.
Bartlett made an appointment with a veterinarian to determine if the tumor was cancerous or not, but the veterinarian was unable to determine anything conclusive.
So Bartlett and her students decided to wait and see if the tumor would decrease in size, but it didn’t. In fact it grew to the size of the guinea pig’s head.
Bartlett brought Bear back to the veterinarian and they suggested that the tumor be removed at a cost of $750.
The survival rate for guinea pigs that go through surgeries is 20 percent.
Initially, Bartlett figured she and the class would just let nature run its course, much like they have done with classroom pets in the past, however the students decided they wanted to fight for Bear.
“The kids decided that they wanted to raise this money,” she said. “They knew the odds and it was a risk they wanted to take with their money.”
Resendiz said she wanted to fight for Bear since she’s a part of the family.
“We were pretty shaken when we found out she had to go through surgery,” she said. “But, she’s a part of our school family and we wanted to do anything to help her.”
To raise money for the surgery MSA students sold cupcakes, suckers and candy bags during school lunches.
“We really love our little pig,” MSA eighth grader Meghan Jones said. “We adopted her, so we know it’s our responsibility to take care of her to the best of our ability.”
Additionally, several students simply made donations to Bear’s surgeries.
Students were able to raise $500, but that was still $250 short of the needed money for the surgery.
However, at the suggestion of a parent, Bartlett contacted Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital about the surgery and they agreed to perform the surgery for a total of $250, the cost of materials.
Bear came out of the surgery successfully, however, several days later her scar began to become infected, Bartlett said.
Bear was brought back to Inver Grove Heights Animals Hospital where she underwent another surgery to remove additional tissue and a cyst that was found in the process.
“They’ve just taken such good care of her,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett said this is the first time in her career at MSA that students have taken the initiative to fundraise for an animal’s health.
“That speaks to their initiative and their passion,” she said. “They have certainly set the bar high.”
Bartlett said the whole experience with Bear has been a remarkable one.
“It’s really nothing short of a miracle,” she said. “She’s our miracle pig.”