Falcons' Hayden Hurst helps get TV director's puppy life-saving operation

Hurst donated $3,000 to the man's GoFundMe fundraiser

Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst donated thousands to a TV director’s online fundraiser to help save the family’s puppy.

Mike Gillespie, a TV sports director for WOLO-TV in Columbia, was in need of $5,000 for an operation on his dog, Wilbur – an Irish setter-golden retriever mix. The dog needed surgery to remove a life-threatening intestinal blockage.

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Gillespie said he and his wife were able to raise $2,000 of the $5,000 themselves by Monday. On Tuesday, Hurst donated $3,000. The puppy underwent surgery Wednesday, Gillespie said.

“That’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for us,” Gillespie wrote in a tweet to Hurst. “I have no idea how to repay you or what we did to deserve this, but we’re so thankful…especially Wilbur.”

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Hurst replied: “No need. I know someone out there would do the same for me and my pups.”

Hurst was a tight end who played for South Carolina from 2015 to 2017 before turning pro. Gillespie said he thought the relationship between him and Hurst was purely professional.

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Hurst signed with the Falcons in the offseason after playing two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. On Sunday, he had three catches for 38 yards in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.