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Rescue Dog Saves Boy’s Life After Waking Up Owners at 5 AM, Leading Them to Their Son’s Room

Gabriel Tanner, 17, unexpectedly had a stroke on Aug. 26. Axel the border collie alerted the family to the emergency.
Amanda C Tanner / Facebook

The following article, Rescue Dog Saves Boy's Life After Waking Up Owners at 5 AM, Leading Them to Their Son's Room, was first published on Flag And Cross.

One year ago, an animal rescue group in Houston came across an abandoned litter of nine border collie puppies.

Nobody wanted the black pup with a white chest — until the Tanner family took him home and named him Axel.

Little did they know that in August of this year, their kindness would be rewarded many times over when Axel played an enormous part in saving the life of the Tanners’ 17-year-old son Gabriel.

On Aug. 26, Gabriel suffered a stroke overnight as he slept at home in the town of Spring, a suburb of Houston, Today reported. 

It was such an unexpected event for the healthy, athletic high school senior that no one in his family had a clue there was anything wrong.

No one, that is, except Axel.

The dog somehow sensed that something was very wrong, so he took action, running to the master bedroom and jumping on the bed to wake Gabriel’s mom, Amanda, and dad, Daines.

“He was pawing me more than normal to get me to move,” Amanda told Today.

Her husband got up and tried to let the dog outside, but Axel wouldn’t follow. Instead, he stopped outside Gabriel’s door, refusing to budge from that spot.

It was 5 a.m. on a Saturday, and normally no one would have even thought of checking on Gabriel until at least noon. But because of Axel’s insistence, they looked in on their son and quickly realized there was a big problem.

Gabriel told them, with slurred speech, that he couldn’t feel his right side. He tried, but failed, to lift his arm and grip his dad’s hand.

The teen was rushed to the emergency room, where the stroke diagnosis was confirmed.

The family soon learned Axel’s actions had been critical in helping Gabriel survive and recover.

“When somebody’s acutely having a stroke, the neurons are dying,” neurosurgeon Dr. Sabih Effendi told Today. “If he was not found and another three or four hours went by, there would have been more and more and more brain injury.”

“Being found earlier because of the dog … significantly improved his outcome.”

The event left the Tanner family stunned.

“My family’s life was changed forever,” Amanda wrote in an Aug. 31 Facebook post. “We went from senior pictures Friday to the hospital the next morning and a turn of events never expected.”

“Our entire lives stopped in time for a bit and basically exploded,” she continued. “I saw these things in movies and testimonials but never thought I’d ever experience such a thing. No one signs up for this!”

Gabriel had lost his mobility and speech. Effendi said he feared at first that the boy might need around-the-clock care — if he even pulled through.

But God had a different plan, Amanda wrote less than a week after Gabriel’s stroke.

“It’s been 6 days of chaos and break through all at once that can only be the hand of God moving,” she said.

“The entire neurological floor of medical staff celebrates his recovery and is stunned with the progress. He has regained most mobility in these days but speech may be the hardest component in this process.”

As for Axel, the perceptive pup is now the family hero, Amanda told Today.

Some service animals are trained to detect when someone is having, or about to have, a seizure or other medical episode, but Axel apparently figured things out on his own.

“He’s now tasked with following Gabriel everywhere,” Amanda said. “He’s now sleeping with Gabriel more, and Gabriel’s doors are open so he can go in and out.”

The stroke “changed our lives, perspective, focus, [and] view of values,” Amanda wrote in an Oct. 7 Facebook post.

Most of all, she added, it increased their trust that “God has a plan for it all.”

By Sept. 17, Gabriel had recovered enough to be able to be baptized at their church.

“What an honor! What a blessing!” Amanda wrote in another Facebook post.

“It amazes me that every detail had been orchestrated beyond what I could have planned myself.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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