Therapy dog from Sumter middle school diagnosed with tumor gets surgery

Therapy dog from Sumter middle school diagnosed with tumor gets surgery
The one-year-old pup, who has stolen the hearts and minds of the entire school community at Bates Middle School in Sumter, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and needed immediate surgery. (Source: WIS10)

SUMTER, SC (WIS) - The adorable and lovable therapy dog at Bates Middle School, Bantam, named after the school mascot, is in desperate need of community aid.

The one-year-old pup, who has stolen the hearts and minds of the entire school community at Bates Middle School in Sumter, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and needed immediate surgery.

His caretaker, teacher Kelly Snell, couldn’t afford the surgery on her own. But on Friday, she shared a happy update -- Bantam was prepped and ready for surgery.

Snell wanted to thank everyone for their donations and well wishes for his speedy recovery.

Bantam, a miniature schnauzer, joined the school earlier this year as a therapy dog in training, specifically for many of the special education students the school teaches.

Snell, who is a first year teacher at Bates, is in charge of Bantam and said Bantam has made such a difference.

“We were just amazed at the difference in the children," Snell said. "The children would tell us they couldn’t read and they wouldn’t read to us - but then when he came, they sat and read to the dog.”

Snell said Bantam had a series of mini seizures on Saturday and was immediately taken to CVETS in Columbia for treatment and an MRI. The diagnosis: a mass lesion in his brain, which Dr. Kendra Bohn from CVETS says is a tumor.

“It’s just bad luck," Bohn said. “At one year of age a tumor is really rare...it’s not very common.”

Bantam had a surgery to remove the tumor on Friday. Now he’ll head to Georgia for radiation.

Snell said that many of her students have asked after Bantam.

“I don’t want to get them upset,” Snell said of her special education class. “It’s so hard...I just keep saying he’s sick.”

Snell hopes that his impact on the community will inspire others to give to help through the medical costs, which aren’t over even after the surgery.

“He’s nothing but love," she said. "He loves the world, he loves people, all animals. He makes everyone happy. He would be a huge loss to the world.”

To donate to Bantam’s medical bills, click or tap here to see the GoFundMe, or call CVETS directly at 803-995-8913 to donate to Bantam’s procedure.

Bates Middle School therapy dog Bantam
Bates Middle School therapy dog Bantam (Source: WIS10)

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