University of Wisconsin–Madison

Deck the Halls with Bucky Badger

See how our favorite mascot is helping spread holiday cheer

While many homes are visited by the Elf on the Shelf during the holiday season, a very special Bucky on the Shelf is visiting the UW School of Veterinary Medicine this year to help bring joy to animals and people too.

Who wore it better?

Bucky spotted a familiar face outside the school’s Office of the Dean – Animals Need Bucky Too, his much larger twin. Brightly adorned with one peacock, six dogs, three cats, two sheep, an iguana, and several other species, Animals Need Bucky Too, was unveiled in May as part of the free public art event Bucky on Parade. Created by local artist Kathy King and sponsored by Karen Walsh and Debbie Cervenka, co-chairs of the Animals Need Heroes Too campaign, the statue was one of 85 on display through September across Madison and Dane County. Through Karen and Debbie’s generosity, the statue will be displayed permanently at the SVM.


A Vet Med Story … or two

Bucky’s adventures through the School of Veterinary Medicine’s teaching hospital, UW Veterinary Care, began the way most patients and their people start their visits – relaxing in the waiting room. Excited to learn more about the latest happenings at the school and hospital, he picked up the latest issue of On Call magazine. Other animals – large and small — soon gathered around while Bucky told them all about Ferguson, a mighty miniature donkey who is home for the holidays after receiving a new prosthetic front limb from UW Veterinary Care’s Morrie Waud Large Animal Hospital earlier this year. Read about Ferguson, a new clinical trial evaluating a vaccine prevent canine cancer, and more in the Winter 218-19 issue of On Call.


Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Next, Bucky cast his vote in UW Veterinary Care’s gingerbread house decorating contest. As a deliciously fun break time activity for December, groups and individuals from the talented UWVC team put their creative skills on display, constructing snowmen and reindeer, bridges and barns entirely out of sweet treats.  


Room to relax

Continuing down the halls of the teaching hospital, Bucky found a waiting room just for badgers — and other small pets too. Did you know that UW Veterinary Care has a dedicated waiting area and exam rooms where cats and small exotic pets can enjoy a less stressful visit? Bucky even made a couple new friends while relaxing in the special waiting area! 


Let’s Take a Selfie

It seemed only fitting for Bucky to make an appearance at the Goat sELFie fundraiser event hosted by the school’s Small Animal Ruminant Club. Featuring appearances by a few of Santa’s little helpers, funds raised from the special photo event supported upcoming student learning opportunities beyond the classroom such as conferences and labs.



The purr-fect next stop for Bucky was visiting some feline friends in the Junior Surgery ward. Third-year students enrolled in the junior surgery course gain real-world experience by providing physical exams and spay and neuter surgeries for cats and dogs from rescues and shelters like the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) and then work to find them forever homes.



Next, Bucky studied reindeer anatomy in the school’s Clinical Skills Training Center (CSTC) where veterinary medical students to practice core technical skills using models and other learning tools before performing procedures on live patients in the teaching hospital and other clinical settings. The CSTC is used to enhance clinical skills development for first- through third-year DVM students and for small group teaching of fourth-year students during their clinical rotations. It also offers students increased access to trainers, large and small animal models, and equipment and the opportunity for more independent practice and refinement of skills outside of normally scheduled classes.



Bucky stopped down to UW Veterinary Care’s Morrie Waud Large Animal Hospital where he visited Maxine, one of the long-time resident cows. She and her friend, Lois, provide blood plasma or whole blood for cows treated at UWVC because there are no commercial blood sources available for cows. Both cows also have fistulas that enable the collection of healthy ruminant fluid that can be donated to a cow with an ailing digestive tract to help boost or rebuild healthy gastrointestinal microflora.


Gift of Life

Bucky also stopped by to visit Copper, a canine donor in UW Veterinary Care’s Small Animal Blood Bank program. Sometimes hospital patients suffer emergencies and require critically needed blood products to aid in their recovery. Companion animals can also have anemia (low red blood cell count) and clotting problems that require transfusions of red blood cells and/or plasma containing clotting factors. And dogs like Copper, as well as other canine and feline blood donors, are there to lend a paw to patients in need. In addition to helping other patients when they are sick, blood donor dogs and cats receive benefits like free food, vaccinations, flea/tick preventatives, dental scaling and polishing, and more!


Hello Sally

Bucky did his part to prepare the SVM’s unofficial mascot for the holidays. Sally the giraffe has greeted visitors to the UW School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) since 1991, endearing herself to countless veterinary medical students over the years. Her quiet presence is a daily reminder to all who come through our doors of the creativity and diversity of the animal kingdom. A resident of the Milwaukee County Zoo for many years, Sally was donated to the UW School of Veterinary Medicine for anatomical study. An enthusiastic team of SVM faculty, staff and veterinary medical students volunteered to assist with Sally’s journey to Madison. After many months of work to prepare her for public display, her skeleton was assembled in the school’s lobby, the only space in the building large enough to accommodate her height.


Under the Microscope

Bucky couldn’t resist stopping for a close up look in one of the school’s labs. Did you know that researchers at the School of Veterinary Medicine conduct 75% of the infectious disease research at UW-Madison? Their work is helping to make both animal and human lives better. For example, the school is currently one of three sites nationwide for a clinical trial evaluating a vaccine for the prevention of many types of canine cancer. The school’s scientists are also helped develop a universal flu vaccine that is now in clinical trials, which would protect against more types of flu, possibly for several years.


Leading the Way

Bucky made a new canine friend heading into UW Veterinary Care’s (UWVC) Frank and Evelyn Fryer Radiation Therapy and Physical Rehabilitation Clinic. Animals visit this part of the teaching hospital when they are working to get back on their paws after injury or surgery. Patients in need of treatment for cancer also enter through these doors for appointments with the school’s Oncology specialists. The Oncology Service at UWVC is world-renowned for making clinical advances in the treatment of cats and dogs with cancer and offers treatment options such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. UW Veterinary Care, is the first of only two veterinary medical hospitals in the world to offer TomoTherapy as a cancer treatment option for pets. The TomoTherapy technology was developed at UW-Madison and successful clinical trials with canine patients led to its widespread use in human medicine in hospitals around the world!


Gather ‘Round

In the final stop of his SVM holiday journey, Bucky assembled some of the new friends he’d met along the way for a cozy afternoon gathering around the (digital) fireplace in the active learning room. Typically, the space hosts courses where students work together in small groups to tackle actual and adapted cases, uncover diagnoses, propose treatment plans, and building essential skills for interacting with clients and veterinary medical professionals. But today, it provided a great place for Bucky and his animal friends – large and small – to celebrate and look forward to the new year ahead. Happy Holidays to all!