OKLAHOMA CITY - A local non-profit rescues animals with major medical problems from the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter.
After surgery, 'Mutt Misfits' finds them foster homes and adopts them out. But, when they recently took in a puppy and found out what was wrong with him, they had no idea how they would be able to fund his surgery.
"What we thought was a broken pelvis ended up being two broken legs and a broken pelvis," said Mutt Misfits Founder Heather Hernandez.
No one knows what happened to the little guy before someone dropped him off at Animal Welfare, but Heather knew her organization had to foster him - and they had a special name all picked out.
"Baker Mayfield because we hope that he runs again," Heather said.
Baker is now 4-months-old and indeed running again after major surgery at Animal Wellness Center in Oklahoma City, where a veterinarian operates on all Mutt Misfits for a large discount.
However, the cost is still great for extensive operations like Baker's.
When Heather posted Baker's story online, a woman who fosters dogs for Mutt Misfits stepped right up to cover the cost. Her name is Kim Cameron, and Heather wanted to surprise Kim with a $400 Pay it 4Ward award from First Fidelity Bank at Animal Wellness Center, where Kim believed she would be meeting Baker for the first time.
"It's just our way of saying thank you and your generosity, and we love you so much, and everything you did," Heather said as she handed the money to Kim.
"Oh, thank you, well, I appreciate all you do, so anything I can do to help," Kim replied, surprised.
But, Kim said there was one very special reason why she chose to fund Baker's surgery - another dog, named Colette.
Colette appeared to be starving and was taken to Animal Welfare in October after roaming the streets. Kim saw all of her bones, but she also saw Colette's sweet spirit and took her home for what would only be a few days.
The vet found a cancerous tumor in her abdomen the size of a football.
But, in those few days, Kim spoiled Colette rotten, showed her love like she had never known and held her as she passed.
It was in Colette's memory that Kim made the donation for Baker's surgery.
"She was wonderful," Kim said. "I mean, it was really hard because you could tell that she really had a lot of life left and just her circumstance. There wasn't anything more that could be done for Colette. Then it was, I think, perfect timing because at the same time Heather was posting about Baker, and I don't know, it just felt like kind of the right thing to do, to kind of pay it forward and honor her memory," she said.
"It was so selfless and so generous, and I think, in Colette's honor, we're going to get to see Baker flourish and have a great life," Heather said.
And, when Kim first laid her eyes on Baker, now able to trot down the hallways of the vet's office, she said, "Hi, Baker! Hi, little guy! I'm so glad he's doing well."
Kim snuggled up to Baker and they exchanged a few kisses, while Kim also held the ceramic print she had made from Colette's paw.
"It was worth it. You were worth it, buddy," she said.
Baker is in need of a forever home. If you would like to adopt him or any of the dogs and cats available through Mutt Misfits, you can find them here, or fill out an application to adopt or foster here.
Pay it 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.