It’s great to have a dog around the house: they are such loyal and protective animals with incredible instincts, and can often detect danger before humans can.
And sometimes, their intervention saves lives. That was the case recently, when a family dog saved the life of a teen having an unexpected stroke.
On August 26, Amanda Tanner, from Spring, Texas, was woken up by her 1-year-old border collie Axel at 5 a.m. The dog was barking and jumped on the bed — and Amanda sensed her dog was trying to tell her something.
“He was pawing me more than normal to get me to move,” Amanda told Today.
When her husband got up to let the dog outside, Axel didn’t budge — he stood outside the bedroom of the couple’s 17-year-old son, Gabriel.
The couple opened the door to check on their son, and were shocked to discover he was having a stroke. Gabriel, reportedly an otherwise healthy high school senior, was slurring his speech and couldn’t feel his right side.
They rushed Gabriel to the emergency room for treatment. Somehow Axel had sensed the teen was having a stroke, and thankfully alerted the family before it was too late.
When someone has a stroke, they need immediate medical attention — it’s heartbreaking to think what might’ve happened if Gabriel’s condition went unnoticed, but miraculously the smart dog saved the day.
“It’s very amazing that their dog alerted and started this whole process of getting everyone awake and going downstairs,” neurosurgeon and medical director Dr. Sabih Effendi, who treated Gabriel at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center, told Today. “When somebody’s acutely having a stroke, the neurons are dying. … If he was not found and another three or four hours went by, there would have been more and more and more brain injury.”
She added that if he had not been treated in time, Gabriel may have been left permanently paralyzed or unable to speak: being discovered by Axel “significantly improved his outcome.”
No one expects their healthy teenager to suddenly have a stroke, and the incident has left the family shaken.
“Our entire lives stopped in time for a bit and basically exploded,” Amanda wrote in a Facebook post. “I saw these things in movies and testimonials but never thought I’d ever experience such a thing. No one signs up for this!”
“Life is so fragile and changes in a blink of an eye, just like that, over night but we see GOD has a plan through the most terrible times in life and we see His hand moving at every step, through every healing baby step, with every visit and encouragement that comes with the outpouring of love on Gabriel and our family.”
Gabriel said he experienced no pain, just fuzzy and “zoomed in” vision, and a headache the night before. Doctors said the cause was a spontaneous dissection of an artery that delivers blood to the brain.
In the weeks since the stroke, Gabriel has been making great progress, and hopes to get back to school and his normal life soon. Meanwhile, the family is forever grateful for the dog who saved his life: Axel has now taken on the role of Gabriel’s protector.
“He’s now tasked with following Gabriel everywhere,” Amanda told Today. “He’s now sleeping with Gabriel more, and Gabriel’s doors are open so he can go in and out.”
Thank god Axel was there — he truly saved Gabriel’s life. It’s incredible how smart and protective dogs can be. We’re wishing Gabriel a full and fast recovery!
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