It’s a shining example of people in the community helping one of their own in need.
When Justin Koechl’s little dog was hit by a car and broke his hip in two places, he turned to Facebook and a Cloverdale pet food and supply store with a heartbreaking appeal for help.
The expensive veterinary surgery Milo needed was simply out of reach.
“He’s like my child,” Koechl said in a short video clip posted to Facebook.
“I’m begging anybody to help me,” he said, gingerly petting Milo, a tiny Papillon cross swaddled in a laundry basket. “Even five bucks.”
Supporters were asked donate directly to Cloverdale Animal Hospital, which had asked Koechl for some initial money down, but had worked out a repayment plan for the rest.
An initial video with Koechl’s appeal was shared more than 547 times, and received upwards of 24,600 views in the span of just a few days.
“Justin is one of our customers,” read a post on Clayton Critters’ Facebook page. Owner Bente Morris wrote, “He was in on Saturday with me talking about the surgery his furbaby needs…. Let’s show community support for a furbaby in need.”
In an interview Tuesday, Morris said Koechl was shaking and in tears, so she gave him a couple of places to call that might be able to help him with some of the veterinary costs. Morris also put the word out to her customers and friends on Facebook – he was selling his belongings to help raise money for medical treatment for his dog.
Mary Larsen’s heart went out to Koechl when she heard of the plight of this “wonderful young man and his young companion,” urging others to help spread word and donate to the cause.
“This young man is trying everything to collect money for his dog so he can pay the vet,” she told The Reporter. “Collecting bottles, finding jobs, doing housework.” Thanks to the cash infusion from strangers, Milo underwent two surgeries last week and was heading home once he was deemed suitably on the mend by the vet.
His first surgery lasted 2:45 hours. He went back into the operating room on Oct. 2.
Fortunately, Milo was well enough to go home on Saturday (Oct. 4) and is reported to be recuperating well.
A shy-sounding little girl introduced as Milo’s “little sister” declared sadly in a subsequent video recorded on Milo’s eighth day in animal hospital, “I’m pretty sure I’ll be happy when Milo’s home.”