Veteran’s best friend needs help to pay surgery costs

Candice Williams
The Detroit News
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Kevin Knight was walking to his mailbox on Veterans Day with his Yorkshire terrier Makenzie, part of their daily routine.

Veterinary surgeon Lindsay Phillips, who performed the surgery on Makenzie, with the recovering pup and Kevin Knight, her owner.

It was only after they crossed the street to the mailbox that Knight realized it was a holiday and there would be no mail delivery. Before he could give an all-clear signal to Makenzie to cross the street, she did something unusual.

“She just all of a sudden, for the first time, she darted across the street before I said, ‘Mak let’s go,’” said the 65-year-old Clawson resident. “She ran into a Jeep and was spun under the tire.”

A terrified Knight scooped up the little dog and rushed her to BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Auburn Hills.

“I was in total panic,” he said.

Knight, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, said he couldn’t bear the thought of losing Makenzie, who helps him with the anxiety developed after being injured in the service. He and his girlfriend, Kathy Eckhout, have had the nearly 4-year-old dog since she was a puppy. She’s now a registered service dog.

Makenzie is recovering after being hit by a car after she ran into the street near her home in Clawson.

“She was with me every day,” Knight said. “She’d lay on my chest. She lets me know when I was getting anxious, to take my meds.”

Makenzie had four fractures in her pelvis and spent the weekend in BluePearl’s emergency room. She required surgery to place a stainless steel plate on her pelvis requiring five screws.

She returned home on Tuesday and is recovering, Knight said.

“I expect her to get stronger every week,” said Lindsay Phillips, the veterinary surgeon who performed the operation.

Phillips said Makenzie needs rest and can’t run or jump for the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I can finally breath,” Knight said. “I’ve got my baby home. She’s not totally out the woods, but she’s home. Nice and comfortable.”

The couple paid $4,500 toward Makenzie’s medical costs and the rest is being raised by a national charity, Frankie’s Friends, which is asking for donations for the veteran’s pet. As of Wednesday, the organization had raised nearly $3,100 of a $6,000 goal.

Frankie’s Friends is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to families with pets who need lifesaving care. Those who would like to contribute to help can click here.

Knight said he’s grateful.

As for their daily walks to the mailbox without a leash?

“Never again,” Eckhout said. “That’s not going to happen. She’ll be on her leash when we go from now on.”

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