Fraternities are founded in brotherhood, with men helping one another. So when a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house was injured recently, the brothers stepped up to lend a hand. This brother, however, is a little hairier than the others and has four legs.
The fraternity member is named Yikes — the Lambda Chi house dog. Several months ago, Yikes was hit by a car, which broke and dislocated his right elbow.
Over the past couple weeks, the brothers of the Lambda Chi fraternity at the University have been raising money to pay for surgery for Yikes, who is about eight years old. The brothers have raised more than $250 so far, but in order pay for Yikes’s $1,855 surgery, they’ve recruited the efforts of those outside the fraternity as well.
Engineering junior Gabe Johnson, former president of Lambda Chi and current house manager, said Yikes is currently walking with his three functional legs. In order to fully heal his injured leg, he needs to have the surgery.
To track their fundraising efforts, the brothers created a Facebook event titled “Help Fix Yikes’s Leg,” which details a list of services the brothers can provide in exchange for small fees, Johnson said.
Among the services they’re offering are car tune-ups and assistance and serenades from the Lambda Chi brothers at $10 a person. One of the more popular options has been allowing close friends of the fraternity to pay $5 per hour to babysit Yikes, Johnson said.
He added that along with these fundraisers, Lambda Chi is also accepting general donations to expedite Yikes’s recovery.
“We realized that he was going to need surgery, and we didn’t have the money, so we thought, that’s the great thing about us all being there, we can work together and make more happen,” Johnson said.
Lambda Chi has historically had a house dog, according to Johnson, but the fraternity hadn’t had one since the 1980s, so the brothers decided to adopt Yikes — a Brittany Spaniel — last year. Yikes is technically Johnson’s dog, so he is ultimately responsible for him, he said, but the whole fraternity contributes to his care.
“He’s a lot of fun,” Johnson said. “He loves people, he loves attention, so it’s a perfect place for him.”
The fraternity brothers have been surprised by the response they’ve received, Johnson said, especially in regard to the babysitting option.
Most people have been very generous and eager to help out, LSA sophomore Kevin Mantay, a Lambda Chi member, said. The brothers often bring Yikes to the University’s Cheer Team practices and sorority houses so “he’s pretty well-known,” he added.
“I think we’ll continue get a good response with the fundraising,” Mantay said.
The fraternity is planning to add more fundraising opportunities, but LSA freshman and Lambda Chi brother Alex Magidson said he feels the options currently offered have proven to be effective. People began responding almost immediately after they created the Facebook event, he said.
Magidson added that there’s a “Save Yikes” party in the works, but no date has been officially set. The brothers also plan to create a PayPal account so they can accept donations online.
Yikes is a unifying force within the Lambda Chi house, Magidson said.
“He’s fun to have around the house and everyone loves him,” he said. “He’s the friendliest dog I’ve ever met. It’s a cool way to bring the brothers together.”
LSA senior and Lambda Chi member Kyle-Prescott Ogunbase said Yikes is like a younger brother.
“It’s kind of like having a little kid around that brightens things up around the place,” Ogunbase said. “We’ve never had a dog (at the house), so it makes it feel more like home.”