The Story of Mr. Stix

Mr. Stix came to us in early 2019 is our first-ever foster puppy. The animal shelter for which we foster created the video below as a fundraiser. Nobody ever called him Charlie. That was purely a fundraising hook a la “Charlie’s Angels.”

Basically, he was found in our mountain canyon here in Colorado by some neighbors who live up Crawford's Gulch. They saw him huddled on the side of the road, stopped to scoop him up, and took him to the shelter.

He was starving and very cold since it was December 2018 when he was found. In addition to missing big patch of his coat, shelter veterinarians found 15 fractures in all four legs, his hips, and his tail -- estimated to have happened six weeks earlier based on how they had already healed without treatment, in some cases healed badly. His left front leg, for example, had healed crooked with the paw pointing in the wrong direction to the outside. Initially, the shelter veterinarians thought he might need his right rear leg amputated because it was so badly damaged. We worked hard through physical therapy over many months to prove that the leg was useful -- even though it does not bend at the knee and barely bends at the hock joint. We call it his Pirate Peg Leg. 

Mr. Stix went through several orthopedic surgeries over many months, including having his left front leg cut and repositioned so that the paw pointed forward again and having a surgical a hip repair known as an FHO (femoral head ostectomy).

Early on, I hid the worst of his injuries and the permanent bald spot on his right flank (that we call his Nakey Spot) with tiny puppy sweaters. He was so skinny when first rescued and even when he first came to us nearly a month later that he looked almost two dimensional. I suppose that's why the shelter team called him Stix, like a stick person drawing.

Despite all that, he maintains an incredible temperament -- funny, optimistic, and friend to people and dogs. He is a crack up. I joke with people we meet that he is obnoxiously friendly.

The only lingering emotional effect of whatever caused his original injuries (likely hit by car according to the orthopedic surgeon who handled his case) is that Mr. Stix sometimes jumps and screams if he hears something slipping in gravel or cracking ice on the side of the road during our walks. It's heartbreaking to know that those sounds remind him of whatever happened, but I hug him and tell him he is OK, and we continue walking.

So while we never intended to keep him, he is here to stay. At some point I hope to edit the interviews we did with the shelter staff the day of his adoption that we can share.

Basically, though, everyone else who expressed interest in adopting him backed out after their veterinarian saw his full medical records. The roller coaster of thinking someone would adopt him and then not, adopt him and then not, became too much, and we decided he would stay.

It's important to note that he looks good in the video below done in March 2019 after his first orthopedic surgery. He had already gained a good amount of weight, and looked much better than he did in the early days and weeks after his rescue. I suspect the shelter team felt the original photos and videos of him we're too graphic for the general public to see.

You can read the post I originally wrote when we first decided to adopt him. Please don't call it "Foster Failure."