On Jacob Hiykel's first day of being a Turlock Journal newspaper carrier he not only delivered local news, features and sports to the community, he also saved a life.
It was the wee hours of the morning on July 6 and Hiykel and his wife were delivering papers to houses in the rural parts of Hilmar. While driving down one country lane, they spotted a blur of movement off the side of the road. They immediately backed up to see what it was and found a small dog cowering in the ditch.
"I thought she'd been hit by a car. She couldn't even crawl away," said Hiykel.
He wrapped the dog in his shirt and brought her into the car. After finishing his paper route, Hiykel took the dog home to see what injuries she may have. Three baths and a hair shave later, what he saw was a terrier mix with irritated skin and nails that were so long they were embedded in the pads of her feet — but no obvious signs of trauma.
Being a long-time canine lover and the current owner of two dogs, Hiykel quickly grabbed his nail clippers to give some relief to the roadside runaway. But even with shortened nails and a new hairdo, the dog couldn't walk.
A trip to Taylor Vet revealed that "Roadie" — the name Hiykel gave to the terrier mix as a nod to where she was found —has patellar reflexation. Roadie's knee caps pop out of joint and don't go back in. This condition isn't necessarily trauma related, and could have happened naturally.
The good news: Roadie is basically in good health and her skin irritation has even cleared up. The bad news: Roadie needs $3,000 knee surgery to be able to walk again without pain.
Hiykel is now caught between a rock and a hard place. He loves animals and can't bear to stand by and watch one suffer when there's something that can be done. But he doesn't have $3,000 for the surgery. Hiykel has turned to website fundraising site GoFundMe and a social media campaign to try and raise the money for Roadie's surgery.
So far, there's been a donation of $20 and many promises of funding from Hiykel's Facebook friends. While he tries to raise the money for Roadie's surgery, he gives her pain medication prescribed by the veterinarian and carries her wherever she needs to go.
Due to the pain in her knees, Hiykel has to physically pick up and carry Roadie outside to do her business, to her food and water bowls and back to her dog bed.
"You can tell she wants to be active, but can't because of her knees," said Hiykel. "She basically just sits; it's so sad."
Hiykel is optimistic that the funds will come to give Roadie the surgery she needs. After she recovers, he is also hoping to find her a new home.
"She's affectionate and isn't aggressive to other dogs," said Hiykel. "She's also house-trained."
To donate to Roadie's knee surgery fund, visit www.gofundme.com/3l74us. For information about adopting Roadie, contact Jacob Hiykel at email@example.com.