This isn't just your average story of an underdog who became a superhero. This dog didn't just start out poor or homeless. No, this poor pup was found stuck in a frozen puddle in the cellar of a foreclosed house during a brutal Nebraska winter. His toes and part of his legs, tail, nose and ears were either missing or severely damaged with frostbite. He and his healthy littermates were also orphaned with their mother's body found nearby.
Fortunately, a rescue group from Colorado was able to pick up the tiny puppies and give them medical care and attention. They posted the puppies' story and made them available for adoption through PetFinder.com. The injured puppy was named "Stubby."
Of course, the really powerful stories have to have multiple heroes!
Christie Pace, a veterinarian's assistant, has always had a soft spot in her heart for animals. She and her husband were looking to adopt a special fur baby, one she know she could offer special care to. When she saw Stubby's story on PetFinder, she set up an appointment to meet him. She volunteered as a foster parent but she had every intention of keeping him. She adopted him at 8 weeks and renamed him Naki'o which ironically means "puddle" in Hawaii, where she is from.
As a four-pound puppy, he could get around on his leg nubs fairly well, but as he grew, Christie knew he was going to need assistance. They carried him around over the hard, rough places, tried wagons and strollers to help him get out more, but it wasn't until Christie saw a dog in a knee brace that she got the idea for prosthetics for Nakio's rear legs.
She did some research and contacted Ortho Pets, a Denver company that specializes in pet prosthetics. She raised the money for the first of the artificial limbs, and when the people at Ortho Pets saw how well he was doing, they donated the rest.
"When we saw how good he was doing with his back leg prosthetics and how he was struggling to use his front legs it was very simple to say, 'we gotta keep with him.' He could do much better with all four prosthetics on," said Martin Kaufmann, owner of Ortho Pets.
As seen in this video, Naki'o is thriving as a superhero bionic dog!