Kosmo – a friendly, 4-year-old husky – is used to making friends everywhere he goes. One could even say that Kosmo has never, ever met a stranger. Unfortunately, this same happy-go-lucky curiosity and easygoing nature got him into some serious trouble during a recent early morning potty break at his home south of Denver. That day, Kosmo came face to face with a porcupine.

“It was awful,” recalled Kosmo’s guardian, Kelly. After only a short time outside, the pup began behaving strangely; he was barking relentlessly at someone or something Kelly couldn’t see. For several minutes, she began calling his name to no avail until finally he emerged from the darkness with a face full of painful quills in his soft, white fur.

Kosmo needed help, and he needed it quickly. Kelly loaded her helpless companion into the car and headed straight to Denver in search of urgent veterinary care.

Immediately, Kelly thought of the Dumb Friends League, and the lifesaving, donor-subsidized treatment her other dog, Sheba, received a few years before at the League’s former Veterinary Hospital at Yuma. With Kosmo, Kelly traveled to the League’s new community Veterinary Hospital at CSU Spur, established in January 2022 near the Globeville-Elyria-Swansea (GES) neighborhood. There, she was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. “[The team] took one look at him and it was like, ‘ok this dog needs help,’” she recalled. “Nobody questioned it … everybody was very understanding and concerned about [Kosmo] and his pain.”

At the League’s Veterinary Hospital at CSU Spur, our Community Veterinary Services team prevents and alleviates suffering in pets whose caregivers are otherwise unable to access care due to financial and other barriers. Additionally, we provide learning and practical experience for the next generation of veterinarians through our externship and internship programs. Veterinary students and recent graduates of Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine assist with cases like Kosmo’s at CSU Spur and our shelter veterinary hospital in Denver.

Not only did Kelly feel comforted by the compassion and swiftness of League veterinarians, technicians, and externs, but she also felt solace in knowing that her dear companion would receive the treatment he so desperately needed. “I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have been able to afford anything else,” she said.

After a thorough evaluation, Kosmo was sedated before our veterinary team carefully removed more than 100 barbed porcupine quills from his face – including one that was embedded entirely beneath the skin. Luckily for Kosmo (and Kelly), the quills had narrowly missed his eye and did not migrate into his chest, trachea, or esophagus. Still, following the complicated surgical procedure, he would need to remain under close supervision with extra love and care while he recovered at home.

Kosmo fortunately made a full recovery from his injuries and is now as happy, healthy, and outgoing as ever! Recently, Kelly brought Kosmo to one of the League’s Community Vaccine Clinics for people and pets in need. She shared that her reasons for doing so are simple: these accessible, donor-subsidized, and conveniently located clinics give her the opportunity to provide essential preventative care so that her beloved animal companions – including sweet Kosmo – can continue to thrive.