By Priscilla Leyva
With a campus built in a rural area, isolated from the busy streets of San Antonio, Texas A&M-San Antonio students have seen their share of wildlife. Driving up to the Main Campus Building, one can easily spot a number of cows and javelinas roaming the pasture lands along University Way.
September also brought an increase in rattlesnakes and bats, according to an email advisory sent by Damon Shodrock, director of safety, risk and emergency management.
While some of these animals may be dangerous, there have been no injuries reported to him, Shodrock said.
And while the wild animals definitely can’t be missed, it’s a smaller domesticated animal that got quite the attention this semester.
Librarian Stefanie Wittenbach said faculty and staff took care of a stray dog that had been roaming the Main Campus for more than six months.
The puppy went by the name of Buddy. Wittenbach said she and Librarian Pru Morris noticed his face was swollen one day. They thought Buddy might have been bit or stung by something on campus so they began working with Shodrock to take care of him, Wittenbach said.
The injury was not severe and the swelling quickly went away.
Wittenbach said the three of them worked together to give the stray dog enough food and water.
“He was real picky with food,” Wittenbach said, adding that they gave him a mixture of canned and dried food, but dry food was his preference.
A number of bowls surrounded Main Campus and after more than six months, the school had become a home for Buddy.
“He’s got personality,” Wittenbach said. “He’s a good dog.”
Some tried catching him, she said, but the pup ran away. At the same time, he refused to leave campus.
Shodrock also attempted to catch the puppy several times but failed.
His plan was to trap, neuter, and release Buddy, a common way of safely reducing the overpopulation of stray cats, Shodrock said. He said the same procedure can be used for dogs.
Finally, during Buddy’s naptime on Oct. 16, Shodrock was able to catch him with a blanket.
Shodrock took Buddy to SpaySA to get neutered.
The next step was to find Buddy a new home. Shodrock said he knew of one employee who wanted to adopt Buddy.
UPD officer Susan Gonzales said she gave Buddy his name and got along with him while he was on campus.
Gonzales adopted Buddy, giving him 10 other dogs to play with.
“I’m very fond of animals; an animal lover,” Gonzales said. Gonzales and her mother, father, sister and nephews help take care of chihuahuas and other mixed dogs. She said Buddy is a Dachshund mix and gets along well with the other dogs.
Gonzales said one day Buddy got out of the yard “but another dog went to go get him and bring him home.”
Even though Buddy made A&M-San Antonio’s campus his home for more than six months, Gonzales said he adjusted well to the yard.
“Do you ever feel like you’ve been somewhere before? Well that’s how it was, almost as if he had already been there,” she said.