Ouray, Colorado — A lot of dogs think they’re human, but Dexter takes it to another level — to the point where I can now safely say, I have seen everything.
Dexter the dog lives in Ouray, Colorado, where, for the past few years, the bicolor, bipedal Brittany Spaniel has been turning heads wherever he goes. His owner, Kentee Pasek, says walking on two legs isn’t a trick she taught him. Rather, it’s an adaptation he made after a near-death experience.
When Dexter was a puppy, he escaped his yard, darted into traffic and got hit by a car. He lost one front leg and the other was badly damaged.
Everyone assumed he would need some kind of adaptive equipment to get around. He did use a wheelchair for a while. Until one day when Pasek set the pooch at the foot of her porch without the wheelchair.
“I ran in to go get my cup of coffee, came out … and I was like, ‘How is this going on?’” she told CBS News of finding that her dog had climbed the stairs.
She grabbed her phone and put Dexter back at the bottom of the stairs and recorded him walking up the stairs on two feet. Pasek says Dexter gets regular checkups at the vet to make sure his joints and hips are healthy, and the vet agrees this is the best option for Dexter to stay happy and mobile.
In the six years since, Dexter has become a full-blown celebrity, starring in parades and building a legion of social media followers, who now come to the dog’s hometown from across the country just hoping for a glimpse of Ouray’s most upstanding citizen.
The whole thing takes absurdity to new heights. But for many, Dexter is no joke. In a pile of mail he receives monthly are hundreds of letters of heartfelt gratitude.
“I am recovering from intensive radiation treatments for breast cancer and you certainly bring joy to my day,” reads one of the cards.
Where humans see obstacles, dogs sometimes beg to differ.
“Dexter shows us, why aren’t you out there writing the book you want to write? Why aren’t you out there doing the things you want to do? Because he has,” Pasek said.
And in doing so has proven that sometimes getting knocked down is the only way to see how tall you stand.
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Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.