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Standing tall, once again

Dog lovers donate to get Roadie back on her feet

Standing tall, once again

Journal newspaper carrier Jacob Hiykel encourages Roadie to walk a few more steps. Roadie had reconstructive knee surgery on July 16, partially paid for by reader donations.

POSTED August 13, 2013 9:32 p.m.

Just over a month ago Roadie's outlook was bleak. She was hungry, thirsty, matted with dirt and unable to walk out of the ditch she was found in alongside a Hilmar country road.

The small terrier's life has changed drastically since then. She now has a full stomach and clean coat of hair thanks to her rescuer, Journal newspaper carrier Jacob Hiykel. She's also regained the use of her legs after receiving reconstructive surgery and undergoing weekly physical therapy rounds at Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital.

Roadie's reclaimed mobility wouldn't have been possible, however, without the generosity of Journal readers — and veterinarian Rob Santos.

When Hiykel found out that Roadie needed expensive knee surgery to walk again, he started a fundraising campaign through social media and the website — which the Journal covered in a story that published on July 17.

Hiykel was surprised  to find that not only friends and colleagues responded to Roadie's cause, but quite a few Journal readers and complete strangers not only sent donations but also hand-written words of encouragement.

"I was touched that so many people cared about animals as much as I do," Hiykel said.

Hiykel raised hundreds of dollars in the first week of the campaign (and $1,060 as of Friday). However, that wasn't near enough to pay the cost of surgery his regular vet quoted him. Hiykel then received a message from Santos at Monte Vista Vet offering to do the surgery at a huge discount. Santos also offered to do the surgery right away, while donations were still coming in.

"Rehab is my specialty and orthopedics, so I zeroed in on this case and I wanted to help the little guy out," said Santos.

Roadie had knee surgery on July 16. As of Thursday, she was able to walk 20 feet all on her own. That quick of a mobility turnaround didn't happen with just surgery, however. Over the past four weeks, Roadie has received weekly physical therapy treatments at Monte Vista Vet including, massage, water therapy, laser stimulation and range of motion exercises.

These treatments may be commonplace after human knee surgery, but they are cutting edge in the canine world.

"Typically, 10 years ago, I'd give a shot, put her in a cage for four to five weeks and send her home with medications. Then you'd see muscle atrophy, tendon, two weeks later, there's phenomenal improvements," Santos said about the change in his canine orthopedic treatment.

"We are definitely changing lives with back and knee (injured) dogs."

Hiykel said Roadie is a different dog than the one he picked up out of the ditch. He's happy to provide a place of healing and recuperation for the terrier, however, he still hopes to find Roadie a permanent home.

If interested in adopting Roadie, contact Jacob Hiykel by email at Donations are still being accepted to pay for Roadie's surgery and rehab care. To donate, visit

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