After Injuring His Front Paws, TikTok Star Dexter the Dog Masters Walking on His Hind Legs
Dexter, who lives with his owner in Ouray, Colorado, learned to walk on his hind legs after he miraculously survived being hit by a truck back in 2016
Dexter the dog is the Internet's latest obsession.
The 6-year-old Brittany Spaniel has gone viral on social media thanks to his impressive ability to walk significant distances in his hometown of Ouray, Colorado while standing on his hind legs.
"Everyone in town knows him," Dexter's owner, Kentee Pasek, told 9 News of the canine, who only has trouble using his front legs due to a past accident. "In fact, they know him now more than they know us."
Dexter's talents have made him a fan-favorite in both Ouray and on the internet: the dog boasts nearly 70K followers on Instagram and over 227K followers on TikTok as of Tuesday. Pasek runs both accounts.
But Dexter's journey to fame is a heartbreaking one.
In 2016, when Dexter was just a year old, he escaped from his Ouray home while sniffing for nearby deer and darted out into the road, where a truck ran over both of the canine's front legs.
"We didn't think he'd make it," said Pasek, who, before Dexter's accident, had said goodbye to two dogs in just two years.
"I couldn't put him down without giving him a chance," she added of Dexter. "I just couldn't."
Dexter's veterinarian believed in the dog's ability to survive and thrive after the accident, so the vet amputated one of the pup's front legs and surgically inserted pins in the other. After several surgeries and plenty of rehabilitation work, Dexter began learning how to walk on his hind legs comfortably.
Soon, Dexter started walking on his back legs all the time. One day, when the dog was out for a walk with Pasek's mother, a passerby recorded Dexter's unique strut and posted the video to TikTok.
The clip went viral, and Dexter became an internet star. He's since been featured in numerous media outlets and appeared in a clip The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday.
Pasek, who lost her full-time job managing a local hot spring pool due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is currently spending her days managing Dexter's social media accounts — but, as she explained to 9 News, she's not doing it to monetize Dexter's talents.
Instead, she simply wants to share his resilience and bravery with the world.
"His attitude has always been 'Hey, everything's great!' and I'm like if you think everything's great … we're going to be able to pull out of this as a world," Pasek said of Dexter.