Dear Baylor Family,
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.
During a recent, routine examination by our outstanding veterinary care team, we received some news about Lady that I want to share with you.
Lady, who will turn 18 on January 31, has been diagnosed with what appears to be a benign mass in her chest called a thymoma. In concert with our exotic animal veterinarian Dr. Sharman Hoppes and zoological medicine specialist Dr. Jill Heatley, Lady is receiving follow-up care through our partners at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences in College Station.
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. This science is an area of growing interest among zoological specialists, and we are grateful to have access to a remarkable team with the expertise needed for Lady’s care.
The tomotherapy treatments offer an innovative yet noninvasive approach to care. 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.
Caring for our bears is a campus-wide commitment. Our Baylor Chamber of Commerce student leaders are responsible for the daily care of our live bear mascots. The students selected for the Bear Program receive hours upon hours of training and mentoring by leading zoological experts and veterinarians across the country. Alongside our School of Education, the Bear Program has developed educational curriculum to enhance the experience for young visitors, and our School of Engineering and Computer Science has partnered with the Program to design hydraulic and transportation systems to assist in caring for the bears.
I ask that you pray for our Chamber students who interact with Lady and Joy on a daily basis. They are understandably concerned by this news and are committed to following the course of care prescribed by Lady's veterinarians. I also ask that you lift up the veterinary team as they guide us through Lady’s treatment. These are remarkable people who care deeply and recognize the future impact on zoological treatment by what they may learn through this process. Finally, please pray for Lady as her treatment progresses and for her return to full health.
If you visit the Habitat in the next day or two, do not be concerned if Lady isn’t outside playing or napping with Joy. She completed a treatment today and will enjoy a little R&R, resting in her own bed, enjoying her favorite soft foods and receiving tender loving care from her Chamber friends.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.