You would be hard-pressed to catch anyone leaving Super Bowl LI early.
Last February’s football matchup was an eyes-glued-to-the-TV kind of game: The New England Patriots were making an unprecedented last-minute comeback.
And Mike Diesel was as big a fan as anyone.
“It was the fourth quarter,” he tells iHeartDogs. “And Brady had just made his first touchdown for the comeback and I was at a party watching the game.”
Then he saw something on Facebook and left the party with a few simple words: “I gotta go, dog hit by car “
The place where the dog lay dying was a 17-minute drive away.
Diesel made it in 13.
By the time he arrived, neighbors who had heard the crash managed to get the dog into a box.
Diesel, who founded Detroit Youth and Dog Rescue, took it from there, easing the injured dog — wrapped tenderly in a blanket — into the car before speeding him to a veterinary hospital.
The dog, who was soon named Knight Rider, or KR for short, was a graceful patient, even as his life hung by a thread. His temperature had plummeted. His leg was shattered and dislocated.
But after two surgeries, KR made a historic comeback of his own.
It helped that Diesel built a special enclosure that let the man sleep alongside the dog for two weeks during the recovery.
KR’s still got a ways to go — and Diesel is trying to raise funds for the medical treatment KR still needs.
In the meantime, he takes the dog to water therapy twice a week.
Staples and steel bolts seem to be keeping KR together, along with an even more essential glue: his hero’s regular visits.
When Diesel visited KR at his temporary foster home this week, the dog, despite his still-tender muscles and bones, leapt into his arms.
“It amazed me,” he says. “That was the first time he did it.”
Diesel ended up missing the New England Patriot historic Super Bowl triumph. Instead, he won the heart of a dog who lay dying in the snow.
And every time he visits KR at his foster home, Diesel gets to lift the most precious trophy on Earth: an endlessly grateful animal, who will never forget the man who saved his life.