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November 20, 2019

It's an interesting thing to head into a new year thinking that goals and plans and purposes are all set. As hard as some things seem, we forge ahead and do the work and take steps toward the original plan. Then, a bunch of stuff happens and fate keeps bonking you in the nose, until you get the hint. This is the story of something like that -- at least part of it. Yes, it involves dogs. Don't miss this news. It's good. I promise. It's about Mr Stix. 


Breaking News! We Adopted Foster Puppy Mr. Stix

Please don't call it a "foster failure." Please don't say "It's about time!" or "I told you so!" This isn't a decision we made lightly. Taking on a special needs dog is a big deal. Mr. Stix is a 1 in a million dog, and we feel thankful and lucky to give him the life he deserves after such a rough start. 

This absolutely was NOT our original intent when Mr. Stix first came to stay with us in January 2019. We truly felt like our role was to give him a place to stay while he recovered from his significant injuries and all the medical interventions and surgeries required to get him ready to be adopted. 

This video is from March after his first major surgery. We do have video of when he was first found. Trust me. He looks good here compared to how he looked when we first met him. 

Here is a link, if you'd like to make a donation toward all the care the shelter gave him.

The Hand of Fate

Had a great family come forward early on when he was originally released for adoption over the summer, we would have let him go. We would have cried a lot and missed him a ton, but we would have sent him off to his own life without us. We would have always remembered and shared stories of our first-ever foster puppy, Mr. Stix. 

But as the weeks and months wore on and everyone who expressed interest in adopting him either turned out not to be a good match (long stories) or backed out after learning his medical history and his likely future medical needs, it got harder and harder to go into every day wondering if it would be our last with him, if he would be adopted. The emotional toll was great. 

The Decision

So, in September 2019, we started talking at home about the idea of Mr. Stix staying. First, we thought, "Well, if we get to the 1 year mark in January, if there aren't any adopters, we'll keep him." Then, we slid that deadline to Christmas and then to Thanksgiving. And, then we decided that rather than have the shelter staff burn time and resources trying to find a family, we'd just decide now. 

Among the reasons to have this amazing dog as a permanent part of our family?

  • At this point, we are ALL he knows. He does not seem to remember his life before he ended up alone and injured.
  • We'd never want him to feel like we ditched him.
  • We know better than anyone what he needs and can / cannot do. 
  • He loves us and the girls, and we love him. Have loved him with our whole hearts since day one.

This photo below is literally one of the first I ever took of him. LOOK how tiny!!!!

puppy with toy Champion of My Heart

If you follow us on Facebook, you've seen lots of photos of the adventures we had while he was healing from surgeries. The camping in the backyard ones slay me still. 

3 dogs in front of camping tent - Champion of My Heart

Points We Considered

Before making the final decision, I checked with his other foster mom -- who kept him while I recovered from surgery in April and also trekked with him across the state to many appointments with the surgeon. When we first met last spring, we learned that each of us secretly hoped the other would adopt him. So, she supports the decision and even joked that he comes with a built-in pet sitter if we ever need one. 

We also checked with the team at the animal shelter since the official rule book for foster families strongly discourages fosters from adopting, especially in our case where the legal limit for adult dogs is 3 -- even though we live in a rural area. Mr. Stix puts us at that limit. So, we will be able to continue fostering, but we'll only be allowed to foster puppies 6 months and under. 

I waited a LONG time to have social dogs who would allow foster dogs in the house, so I had to think about letting go of at least part of my initial ideas about what our fostering life would be like. 

But, it simply came down to this. We believe having Mr. Stix as part of our family permanently is absolutely the best thing for him. After all he has been through -- the starvation, 15 broken bones, likely 6 weeks alone in the wilderness, etc. -- he deserves to have the best life possible.

The Delay 

The delay between the decision in September and his official adoption today, November 20, 2019, is because just before we were set to sign the papers, there was a glitch with one of his orthopedic repairs. He developed a hole in his skin and 2 infections around the metal plate used to surgically fix one of his legs. He needed yet another surgery. That surgery was done on Halloween. He got his stitches out today. 

Mr Stix puppy wearing trick or treat bag Champion of My Heart

The official photos and video from the shelter will be released later, but for now, here are a few more photos from our new life as a family of 5.

I'm proud to introduce:

Mr. Stixamillion Charles Thurston Hawn I

black and white dog with red hearts garland around his neck - Mr. Stix Champion of My Heart
3 dogs dressed as 3 amigos - Champion of My Heart
champion of my heart adoption photo Mr Stix
About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

  1. I haven’t checked in for a long while, so the saga of Mr. Stix is all news to me. And what a great story! Congratulations on adding him to the color-coordinated family! A very, very happy New Year to all of you.

  2. Congratulations! I adopted my dog after fostering him, he was so sweet and gentle I couldn’t let him go. It was the best decision my family made and now he is safe and sound and can life his best life

  3. I’m so glad you decided to adopt Mr. Stix! All excellent reasons behind the decision and I know he’ll have the best family for him. I love the photo of the siblings, and of you three.

  4. Congratulations! WOW! HE looks like such a character!!! One in a million all right! And the “sibling” picture is priceless. What a happy bunch of pups! I’m sure my sister, Nora Hensley, will send me updates. Please keep them coming. By the way, your book was a comfort to me, I passed it on to her when she lost “her boy”, and together we gave it to a mutual friend who had lost her Border Collie Heart Dog after nearly 14 years! Thank you! And thanks for sharing Mr. Stix and his story.l

    1. Hi, MaryAnn — Thanks so much for your note. Yes, Mr. Stix is quite the character! I’m so glad to hear that you and your sister and others are finding the book useful. I’m sorry, though, for your losses. Have a great Thanksgiving.

  5. Oh you guys, congratulations, all five of you! You’ve got a great family Stix and you guys have yourselves a great dog. I’m so happy!!!

    Is Stix a smooth coat or a mix? It looks like his tail is fluffy. Looking forward to more updates on everyone!

    1. Thanks so much, Nora! It’s crazy to be a family of FIVE after so many decades as mostly FOUR. Stix’s coat is weird. It’s kind of smooth / short in spots, and then also wiry like on his back and his tail. His head is very soft, for example, but his shoulders / back is super coarse. We’ve ordered a DNA test kit, so we’ll be reporting back on what they find.

  6. You and Tom are one in a million and so is Stix. Thank you on behalf of all of us at Foothills Animal Shelter. I knew the day I met him that he was worth all the time and money to save him but also knew that we would struggle if you couldn’t be a possible foster home for him. So glad you said YES to him and us twice my friend.

    1. Awww. Thanks so much, Connie. Thanks for asking and for letting us swing in out of nowhere to foster him. We really didn’t intend to keep him, then fate intervened. Have a great Thanksgiving with your little ones.

  7. So glad you decided to keep Mr Stix. He’s obviously a great fit. Love the news! Congratulations!

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