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Baylor’s bear mascot ‘Lady’ underwent treatment at Texas A&M

(Photo: Baylor University)

 

Texas AM and Baylor were longtime rivals on the football field and other athletic facilities. Dating back to the Southwest Conference and continuing through the Big 12, the Aggies and Bears were conference opponents for many years.

The two teams have met on the football field 108 times, with the first meeting coming back in 1899.

While the two programs on the Brazos River no longer play each other, there still is not a ton of love lost between the schools’ fanbases.

However, Texas AM is doing its part to help out its neighbor 90 miles to the Northwest.

Baylor keeps two live bears on campus as mascots and they are revered by the students and faculty. In fact, each spring the school has a ‘Dia del Oso,’ or ‘Day of the Bear,’ as the school takes a day off to celebrate the bears as well as enjoy time with friends.

One of the two current bears, Lady, recently underwent treatment at Texas AM’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

Lady “is undergoing innovative, noninvasive radiation treatment for a benign cranial mediastinal mass, or thymoma, in her chest. The tumor was found during a routine wellness examination with veterinarians at Texas AM College of Veterinary Medicine Biomedical Sciences,” according to KBTX.

Lady, 17, whose formal name is Judge Sue “Lady” Sloan, completed the treatments [Wednesday] at the Texas AM Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) in College Station.

“While no external signs of treatment are expected, Lady will be monitored closely and assessed by her care team to ensure her comfort and recovery, including being served a soft food diet for a few days to accommodate any throat irritation from anesthesia.”

“She is back on campus and resting comfortably at the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat, Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., wrote in a letter to the Baylor Family.”

The Baylor president praised the AM community for its help.

“Baylor University celebrates many beloved traditions, but few bring as much joy to students, alumni and friends, and as many rich opportunities to interact with and educate young people in Central Texas as our live bear mascots, Joy and Lady. They are a cherished part of the Baylor Family,” President Livingstone wrote.

“The veterinarians have begun a course of tomotherapy we hope will reduce the size of the tumor – a treatment that is believed to be the first-ever done on a bear.

We are grateful to have access to a remarkable team with the expertise needed for Lady’s care,” the president wrote. “Our priority is Lady’s comfort and wellbeing. Following the treatments, we will visit again with the veterinary team. We are optimistic about the results and Lady’s health.”

Lady and her older biological sister, Joy, 18, live in the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat, which is fully accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a Class C Zoo. The habitat is one of the most visited spots on Baylor campus, welcoming more than 250,000 visitors each year, including over 5,000 children who receive a unique educational experience developed alongside the Baylor School of Education.

The Bear has served as the Baylor mascot since 1914, with the live mascot program beginning in 1917. The Baylor Chamber of Commerce, an officially recognized student organization with oversight from the Division of Student Life, began caring for the bears in 1940.

Student trainers care for Joy and Lady seven days a week, 365 days a year, including between semesters, on major holidays and regardless of weather conditions. Each student caregiver who helps in daily feedings and enrichments is trained and mentored by leading animal care experts and veterinarians.

This is not the first time the Texas AM Veterinary school has treated the mascot of a rival school. In 2015, Texas’ mascot Bevo XIV was brought in and diagnosed with bovine leukemia. There was no cure and he passed away in the middle of the football season weeks later. Still, Texas AM is the go-to for any large animal care in the state.