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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Reveille in retirement: Former mascot settles in at Stevenson Center


Reveille VIII spends her retirement playing fetch and taking it easy.

Reveille VIII has settled into retirement life with 13 other dogs, 19 cats and a llama named Rusty at the Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center.
The first lady moved to the center shortly after her retirement on May 9, and is now settled into routine with the staff.
After its founding in 1993 by the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, the center went to work caring for the needs of local animals whose owners could not provide for them. Ellie Greenbaum, associate director for the center, said this often happens when pet owners check into a hospital for a long period of time or move into a retirement community.
To take care of Reveille VIII and the other animals during the nighttime, four veterinary students live at the center.
“We take care of them as a residency and medicate them once the staff goes home, but once we finish with those chores, they’re basically like our pets here,” said Lauren Schwerdfeger, second year veterinary school student and student resident. “We can bring them back into our apartments, and you know, sleep with them at night. A lot of them are really great study companions.”
During the evenings, when the residents have settled into their study habits, as many as half a dozen animals gather around to snuggle while they study or watch TV. Schwerdfeger said Reveille VIII’s favorite spot to share is the couch. 
“That’s basically one of my favorite things here, because when I walk in the front door from coming home from class every day, I don’t just have one dog greeting me, or one cat, I have about 35,” Schwerdfeger said. “It never fails, even if you’re having a bad day. You just can’t stay unhappy when you have those many happy faces and wagging tails greeting you all the time.”
Reveille VIII spends most of her time at the center playing fetch with other animals or taking it easy, Greenbaum said.
Greenbaum said Miss Rev is healthy but has new diet.
“She’s on a low fat food [diet] because she has put on a little weight since she’s been here just because she’s quite happy resting,” Greenbaum said. “She doesn’t have any kidney issues or liver issues or heart issues or any other problems yet that we’re aware of.”
Reveille VIII has made friends with dogs and a couple of cats as well.  “You know, every once and a while, there are little differences, but for the most part they all get along,” Dittmare said.
Schwerdfeger said most of the altercations she’s seen between the animals  concerned toys, but overall life at the center seems to work well even though it’s an abnormal living set-up for the pets. 
“They really do live as one big happy family here despite coming from different homes previously,” Schwerdfeger said. “They really do mesh, and it’s not unusual at all to see dogs and cats walking past on a daily basis.”
The center allows visitation appointments for those who are close to the animals and their owners. 
Schwerdfeger said she remembers admiring Reveille in her college years and being awestruck when Rev first came to visit with her handler.
“Looking back four years later, I would have never ever have imagined I would be one of her caretakers at her retirement here at the Stevenson Center,” Schwerdfeger said.

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  • Reveille VIII spends her retirement playing fetch and taking it easy.


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