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Junior Megan Roberts helps animals during school

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Enjoying the summer day, maltipoo Ruby smiles with juniors Juliane Pautrot, Megan Roberts and Kristin Priest. Roberts made an Instagram account dedicated to posting selfies of her dog. “Ruby’s very feisty and sassy, she has such an attitude,” Roberts said. “Ruby literally thrives off of socializing.”

Enjoying the summer day, maltipoo Ruby smiles with juniors Juliane Pautrot, Megan Roberts and Kristin Priest. Roberts made an Instagram account dedicated to posting selfies of her dog. “Ruby’s very feisty and sassy, she has such an attitude,” Roberts said. “Ruby literally thrives off of socializing.”

Megan Roberts

Megan Roberts

Enjoying the summer day, maltipoo Ruby smiles with juniors Juliane Pautrot, Megan Roberts and Kristin Priest. Roberts made an Instagram account dedicated to posting selfies of her dog. “Ruby’s very feisty and sassy, she has such an attitude,” Roberts said. “Ruby literally thrives off of socializing.”

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Most students wake up for school and go through the same old routine. For junior Megan Roberts, her morning includes puppies and kittens as soon as she walks into school.

Dreaming of helping animals everyday in the future as a veterinarian, Roberts takes a veterinarian assistant course at South Technical High School to prepare. She attends class during the first three hours of the day, affecting her schedule at West High.

“I only have four classes [at West] because of South [Tech], so it can be tricky to fit all the classes I need,” Roberts said. “Once I get my schedule there is no room to move it around and few options to switch out.”

Despite the limited choices, Roberts does not regret taking the two year opportunity at South Tech.

“I remember reading about [the class] freshman year in the course guide when signing up for classes, but I forgot about it because it was only for juniors and seniors,” Roberts said. “[Counselor Jennifer] McLane actually pulled through at one of my meetings with her sophomore year. I mentioned how I want to be a vet when I’m older, and she reminded me of the program. [It was the] best thing she’s done for me.”

Since she was in elementary school, Roberts always had an interest in working with animals.

“I was upset that my parents wouldn’t get me a dog, so I got into this mindset of ‘becoming a vet equals spending every single day with dogs.’ That flawed reasoning actually stuck with me. It’s something I’m passionate about now,” Roberts said.

Roberts now has two dogs that she tries to apply her learning to, a three-year-old maltipoo named Ruby and a German shepherd mix named Hershey.

“I always wanted a tiny lap dog that I could dress up, but Ruby actually hates wearing clothes so that worked out great. She loves cuddling, and she’s so warm like a tiny space heater. She sleeps in my bed every night and curls up against my back. It’s so cute,” Roberts said. “It’s really funny because Ruby is actually the alpha even though Hershey has two years and about 70 pounds on her. My dogs are the love of my life.”

Along with loving her own pets, Roberts hopes to help other animals and their owners by taking veterinary classes to prepare for her future career. Subjects she takes at South Tech include pharmacology, animal rights, animal anatomy and dealing with common diseases in dogs and cats, as well as birds and reptiles. Much of South Tech’s courses run like classes at West with lectures and labs. However, students also have the opportunity to work with dogs and cats during class.

My passion has always been with the animals that nobody else wanted to rescue or adopt, whether it be due to their age, special needs or some type of costly medical issue. By bringing in animals like that, I feel like my students have been exposed to a large variety of animals with different issues, and not only learn how to take care of or accommodate these types of animals, but learn to love them and see that these animals deserve a chance as much as a ‘healthy’ animal.”

“One of my teachers runs a shelter called Saving G.R.A.C.E., and she always brings in new dogs and cats that she’s rescued,” Roberts said. “It’s so amazing having them in class; I can be doing my book work with kittens in the middle of the table or take notes with a puppy asleep in my lap. It’s sad when an animal gets adopted, but also nice to know that they have a great new home.”

Students are allowed to foster the animals in their own home until they find somewhere permanent. Roberts snatched the opportunity to foster Reba, a four pound maltese.

“We really bonded to the point that she would cry if I wasn’t in class with her and would follow me around when I had to go do something. I loved her so much. I fostered her at home for one weekend, and it was amazing. We were pretty close to adopting her, but it just wasn’t practical for us. But she got adopted by a little old lady who stays at home all day with her, and I know they’re happy together,” Roberts said.

South Tech teacher and Saving G.R.A.C.E. founder Erica Zengerling sees the hands-on learning in class as a huge privilege for the animals. Two weeks ago, Zengerling went to an animal control and met Gretta, a scared and shivering pitbull.Taking Gretta back to South Tech, Zengerling expected the pitbull to act terrified with the sudden change.

“She ran inside the school, met all the other dogs, picked up a toy and started playing like a mad man! It was a beautiful thing to see how fast she changed and realized that she got her chance and was in a much better environment,” Zengerling said. “Last week, Gretta was adopted out to a family with two small kids and another dog. All she needed was for somebody to give her a chance, and that is what we did.”

Zengerling also views the animals as a positive impact on the students.

“My passion has always been with the animals that nobody else wanted to rescue or adopt, whether it be due to their age, special needs or some type of costly medical issue. By bringing in animals like that, I feel like my students have been exposed to a large variety of animals with different issues, and not only learn how to take care of or accommodate these types of animals, but learn to love them and see that these animals deserve a chance as much as a ‘healthy’ animal,” Zengerling said.

The main misconceptions is that we just play with cute animals all day, and we don’t get any work done. Someone will ask what class I’m taking, and when I say ‘vet tech,’ the response is always something like ‘I wish I would’ve known about that. I want to play with dogs.’”

— Megan Roberts

Despite the benefits, the animals can also serve as a distraction during class, as students often find themselves with their phones out to take pictures of the dogs or cats. Roberts posts many photos and videos on her Snapchat story, raising questions among her peers.

“My Snapchat story is always full of the dogs and cats in class. It’s a little annoying for [my friends], but I think they also love seeing the animals,” Roberts said. “I used to get asked all the time through Snapchat or in person, ‘dude what class is that with the dogs and cats?’ or my favorite, ‘where do you go every morning?’”

Viewing Roberts’ class through Snapchat stories, many people hold misconceptions as to what the class actually is.

“The main misconceptions is that we just play with cute animals all day, and we don’t get any work done. Someone will ask what class I’m taking, and when I say ‘vet tech,’ the response is always something like ‘I wish I would’ve known about that. I want to play with dogs,’” Roberts said. “It can get quite annoying, not when people just tell me the class sounds cool, but when they misinterpret what we actually do in class.”

Veterinary technicians act like assistants to a veterinarian in an office or clinic. They perform initial examinations of an animal brought into the clinic, treat wounds and help restrain animals who are being treated. It can be compared to a nurse in a doctor’s office as the nurses see the patients first and do an initial check before the doctor.

“We have learned about common illnesses and symptoms, but I’m still not confident in diagnosing my own dogs yet. I try though. When I notice something off with my dogs, I’m just like that meme with all the equations trying to figure out what’s wrong,” Roberts said.

At the end of the two year course, Roberts and other students have the chance to test to become a certified vet assistant and test the knowledge they acquired at South Tech.

“I personally am in this course because I’m very serious about veterinary science and becoming a veterinarian. The dogs and cats are just a plus,” Roberts said. “I want to be someone who can help animals in need and take care of them, and I see being a vet as the perfect opportunity to do so.”

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4 Comments

4 Responses to “Junior Megan Roberts helps animals during school”

  1. Megan on February 8th, 2018 11:16 am

    So excited about this. Thank you so much Nayeon, I love the story! ❤️❤️

  2. Gabe Davis on February 8th, 2018 11:19 am

    I knew Nayeon was going to write this article, but it turned out even better than I expected. This is such a unique take on south tech and is informative while also appealing to emotions. A great read for someone looking to positively supplement their day (also great job Megan for supplying the story and adding so much to the community!!!)

  3. Megan on February 8th, 2018 6:24 pm

    Ruby’s instagram is @spicedruby :))

  4. Gabe Davis on April 23rd, 2018 11:03 am

    I wish there were more pictures of Ruby…..

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Junior Megan Roberts helps animals during school