Thanks to donors, 8-month-old Niko will get the surgery he desperately needs

By Amy Jamieson
Updated December 04, 2015 08:19 PM
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One pup is eternally grateful that #GivingTuesday extended far beyond this week.

On Tuesday, FOX 46 reported that Niko, a stray from New Port Richey, Florida, needed $3,000 to cover a $5,000 surgery to repair damage done when the dog was hit and dragged by a car. Two bullets were also found lodged in his body.

The dog’s sad story, and adorable face, tugged at the heartstrings. One donor named Nick Borgesano, owner of Kegenix, gave the SPCA Suncoast, who is now caring for the dog, $2,000 toward the procedure — a move that halted the dog’s euthanization at Hernando County Animal Services. But the shelter still needed at least $3,000 to cover the entire cost of the surgery, which will repair a fracture to the L7 vertebrae, the last one before the sacrum.

That’s when social media worked its magic: one woman named Bonnie Reed donated $5,000, another anonymous donor gave $1,000, a man named Jim Marach gave $3,000. A gofundme page has now raised over $15,000 for the 8-month-old pup, which will more than cover the surgery that is now scheduled for Thursday.

“We’re just absolutely amazed by the outpouring of support, he’s touched a lot of people,” says executive director Kerrianne Farrow, who adds that the additional funds raised will go to good use. “He’s going to need a follow up surgery and also rehabilitation. The extra money has definitely helped.”

Despite all his physical ailments, the dog is still optimistic about life. “Niko is an absolute sweetheart considering everything that’s happen to him,” Farrow tells PEOPLE. “He shows nothing but love to anybody that goes near him.”