When a dog has a difficult time in life, they are often able to overcome that issue in a way that is inspiring. I think that Dexter is one of those dogs, and he is now inspiring people around the world.
Unfortunately, Dexter had to have his right front leg amputated due to an accident. He still wasn’t quite where he needed to be, and he was struggling to learn how to deal with his new normal. Everything was difficult, including going out to ease nature.
According to The Know, Kentee Pasek, Dexter’s human, would carry the one-year-old Brittany spaniel out into the yard and put him down on the grass. At that point, she went in to get a cup of coffee, but when she came back, Dexter was on the porch looking at her.
“I was like, ‘How did he get there?’ ” Pasek said, The Know reports.
That is when she decided to do an experiment. She took him down into the grass, stood back, and watched to see what would happen. She then saw him limping to the bottom of the steps, getting up on his hind legs, and walking up the stairs like a human! She described it as being “One leg at a time, just like a human.”
She knew that she had a get a video, and it started Dexter on his road to viral success.
The first video was shot in May 2016 and Dexter has been an Internet sensation ever since. He is walking everywhere and Pasek is right there, taking pictures and shooting video so that all his social media fans will have new content.
As of a couple of weeks ago, some 5000 followers are attached to the @dexterdogouray Instagram account. Many of them are in Ouray, his hometown, but he has fans from all over the world.
“He’s a showman. He knows when people are watching and he’ll start walking” on his hind legs, said Pasek to The Know, who adds he alternates between two and three legs during his walks. “People want to meet him. They either take pictures or get a picture with him.”
Dexter doesn’t mind taking the limelight! He loves giving hugs and is very friendly. He just walks right up and throws his front leg on their shoulder.
In June, a visitor was passing through and took a video of him walking on the sidewalk. After posting it on TikTok, millions of people saw it. Even The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon loved it! Reporters from around the world, including Russia, Ireland, England, France, and Australia were calling. She referred to it as “an interesting time.”
There have also been some difficult times, such as when Dexter went missing in 2016. Anyone who has ever had a Brittany spaniel realizes that they love to escape.
Pasek was really worried and half the town was looking for him. Her husband, Tim, ended up seeing him at the park looking as if he was following the scent of a deer. Unfortunately, Dexter had wandered into the road and got hit by a truck.
Tim reacted quickly and used his experience as an EMT to apply a tourniquet to his leg. He was then driven to the San Juan Veterinary Clinic in Montrose. It seemed as if he was going to make a recovery, but it took months.
“He was in horrible condition, with massive trauma,” said Dr. Chris Franklin, Dexter’s vet, according to The Know. “His right front leg was dangling; no way to save it.”
“We didn’t know if he’d make it so many times,” Pasek said.
During those visits to the veterinarian to build up the remaining front leg, he was always a happy dog. Most dogs don’t enjoy going to the vet, but they said he was happy to see them!
As long as his hind legs stay healthy, it seems as if he has a good prognosis.
“He’s developed massive, weight-lifter thighs,” The Know reported Franklin saying, adding that Dexter recovered by his own will. “It was his desire to adapt. He chose two legs. They (the Paseks) didn’t make him walk on two legs. He accepted that he has this adversity and that he’s not going to let it get him down. He has amazing resilience. He’s like, ‘I got food in my bowl and the sun is shining. I’ll be fine.’ ”
Philip Tedeschi works for the Institute for human-animal connection at the University of Denver. The Know reported that he said: “Dexter’s story reminds us to celebrate life … it’s a symbol of resilience,” Tedeschi says. “We frequently see ourselves and our most essential needs in other animals, we relate to familiar struggles.”
Pasek sees Dexter as being more than a pet, she sees him as being a figure for the era where we are living.
“Here we are in this huge tragedy (the pandemic) … everyone is going through this transition. We’ve lost lives, jobs, travel, school – our lives will forever be different. We say, ‘I’ve never seen this before.’ But you look at Dexter and he’s dealt with his tragedy so graciously this whole time,” Pasek said to The Know, her voice cracking with emotion.
“He’s still kind and he’s embracing his new normal. He’s showing us how to be brave and that we can be positive, too,” she concluded.