FOUNTAIN, Colo. — The moment she saw her, Wendy Steckiel had no doubts.
"It was definitely the eyes. Her big brown eyes — I loved them," Steckiel said.
A few months ago, the Steckiel’s adopted Missy as the newest member of their family, even with all of the health problems she’s facing at such a young age.
"The personality overrides it," Steckiel said.
Missy’s limbs are deformed, her bones have grown crooked and her kneecaps are out of place.
"Yup, we can handle it. You know, it's what you would do for any family member, you'd help them out," Steckiel said.
The spirit of perseverance she’s using now to help Missy is one she learned early in life. Ten years ago, Steckiel was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), and two of her children have autism.
"I can help you," Steckiel said. "I can get you to your therapy that you're going to need, and having autistic kids, already knew about therapies and having to stay up on all of that kind of stuff."
Every day Steckiel helps Missy with her physical therapy exercises at home, and about once a month she drives her to Castle Pines for shock wave therapy.
"It sounds a little bit scary. It's really not. What it really is, is a sound wave that travels through tissue and then we'll expand and contract in the tissue to stimulate it," said veterinarian Dr. Marie Bartling.
Bartling is in charge of Missy’s rehabilitation.
"Essentially, I can bend her knee to about, maybe 70 degrees before the patella wants to come out of place again, and that’s a big improvement from when I first met her because I could not bend her knee at all," Bartling said.
This shock wave therapy is only the beginning of Missy’s long recovery.
Surgery will come next.
"We're going to loosen those tissues so that when that surgeon moves that patella back over and all of these muscles over there loose enough to be able to have normal flexibility and stay where we put them as opposed to where they want to be when they're too short," said Bartling.
While Missy’s treatments and surgery will not be cheap, the Steckiel family knows this is the only way to give Missy the best life possible.
"She's like missing a puzzle piece you didn't know you were missing until it showed up and then you'll likely fit in, and if we remove you, now we’re missing something," Steckiel said.
Those big brown eyes Steckiel fell in love with are about to see some big changes.
The kind that will give this dog the chance to run with the rest of family.
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