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Author: Erica Zengerling

The South Tech Flock

Those who frequent the South Tech campus have likely noticed the Veterinary Assistant’s assorted flock of fowls milling around their building. The Veterinary Assistant Program is the proud owner of several different species of chickens, including Frizzles, Polish Cresteds, and Laced Wyandottes; and their large Americana Rooster named Buckbeak.buckbeak1

However, the birds that get the most attention are the three large, white and black, Royal Palm Turkeys. The turkey flock consists of two hens, Jive and Gobbriella, and a tom, Friar Turk. This species of turkey was bred not for meat production, but for their ornamental appeal, and that is exactly the purpose they serve at South Tech. Safe to say many people have stopped by the program to ask about the large white birds that follow them up to the door and have such curious personalities. Friar Turk, with his beautiful plumage and bright red and blue face, has been named the unofficial South Tech mascot by many!

turkey2The South Tech flock is not merely for show though; they have been a great educational tool to aid in teaching students the proper handling and husbandry for farm fowl. An “Urban Chicken Movement” has spread throughout the country and these birds are being viewed more as pets, than dinner. These birds have helped bring together several of the programs as well. Construction and masonry helped build their coop and yard, and culinary regularly feeds them their extra food scraps. Keeping the flock healthy and happy has certainly been a group effort.

Next time you are taking a walk around the South Tech campus and see these beautiful birds feel free to stop into the Veterinary Assistant Program and ask about our birds and their care!

The Veterinary Assistant Program & Saving G.R.A.C.E. Rescue Partnership

The instructors of the veterinary assistant program have been rooted in the rescue community for many years now; Ms. Hobbs for over twenty years, and Ms. Zengerling for over seven. They have worked hard to integrate rescue animals into their program in order to take their students’ experience level with animals to the next step, as well as open up their eyes to the animal welfare issues plaguing our country.

The first foster dog taken in by Saving G.R.A.C.E. and cared for by the veterinary assistant students
Cliff, the first foster dog taken in by Saving G.R.A.C.E. and cared for by the veterinary assistant students.

Over the summer, Ms. Zengerling decided to take on the responsibility of creating her own animal rescue group, Saving G.R.A.C.E. “Giving Rescue Animals Chances Everyday”. This rescue group was created to partner with the veterinary assistant program at South Technical High School. The instructors work together to rescue animals that will fit into the program’s curriculum and environment, many of these animals have special medical needs. Medical needs that the instructors are able to teach their students about, and where the student’s then help to nurse these animals back to health and then find them great homes.

Instructors and students have been working together on fundraising and volunteer opportunities that they can also integrate into their FFA chapter; soon they will work together to run adoption events at a local pet store.

Working with Saving G.R.A.C.E. and exposing students to real animals needing real medical and emotional care, has truly instilled a sense of responsibility and pride in the veterinary assistant students that is quite apparent. Not to mention they gain hands-on skill and knowledge that will carry them far into the career field and college.

The first foster animal rescued by Saving G.R.A.C.E. and brought into the program to work with students was a dog named Cliff. Cliff was found tied to a tree in a local park, and as you can see in the picture he was in very bad shape.

Together the teachers and students learned that Cliff had demodex mange, skin infections, extreme emaciation, a previously fractured pelvis, and more.

Everyone fell in love with Cliff through his recovery time with us; students also learned how to perform a skin-scrape, give medicated baths, medicate animals with liquid and capsules, and proper post-surgical care.

As a team the teachers and students turned Cliff into a whole new dog. Throughout his time with us Cliff kept the same trusting, and happy personality; the fact that he still loved humans so strongly and was always wagging his tail was something everyone who met Cliff found to be amazing, and drew personal strength from.

Thanks to the care and compassion Cliff received, he has recovered fully and was recently adopted into an amazing family! Cliff is one of many special needs fosters that Saving G.R.A.C.E and the veterinary assistant program will work together to save and give a happy ending!

Check out the Saving G.R.A.C.E. website to see the awesome things they have been doing.


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