Dog ‘Axel’ hailed as hero for alerting family after teenage owner suffers severe stroke

THE WOODLANDS, Texas (KHOU/CNN/CNN Newsource/WKRC) – A rescue dog was hailed as a hero for alerting other family members when its teen owner suffered a stroke.

The family, from The Woodlands, Texas, told KHOU that they were extra thankful for their border collie Axel, who they claim saved the teen’s life.

Amanda Tanner, the teen’s mom, told the station that Axel, a one-year-old rescue, was meant to be a part of her family.

“He jumped on my bed and was kind of like, aggressively trying to wake us up,” Tanner told reporters with KHOU.

Tanner told the outlet that it happened around 5:45 a.m. and said she believed Axel just needed to go outside.

“My husband walked all the way to the sliding door. Axel did not follow him. He stopped in front of Gabriel’s door,” Tanner explained the station’s reporters.

Tanner said her 17-year-old son Gabriel Silva was in his room panicking. According to the family, he had fallen, his vision was fuzzy and he couldn’t feel his right arm.

“And then I found my dad. That’s when I knew something was really wrong. Because I tried to talk to him, I started slurring my words,” Silva told KHOU.

Silva’s doctor at a hospital in the area said the teen suffered a large left-sided stroke.

“He could not speak. He could not understand language. He was nearly paralyzed on the right side of his body,” Doctor Sabih Effendi told the station.

Over the last couple of months, the senior at Klein Oak High School has made great strides in speech and physical therapy, according to KHOU. One reason for his accelerated recovery was that he was able to get medical attention quickly that morning.

It was all thanks to Axel, who the family said has earned all the treats he wants.

“To me, it’s God sent. Axel is one of nine puppies. He’s the one no one wanted. He’s the reject. He was meant to be. He was meant to be a part of our family. He had a purpose. He’s going to continue to have a purpose,” Tanner told the station.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, it was important to immediately call 911 if you or someone around you shows signs of a stroke, as getting treatment as quickly as possible is critical. Per the clinic, to better recognize the warning signs of a stroke, use the acronym BE FAST:

  • B – Balance – Be mindful of a sudden loss of balance.
  • E – Eyes – Check for sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes or double vision.
  • F – Face – Ask the person to smile. Look for dropping on one side of the face.
  • A – Arm – Ask them to raise their arm. If they have one-sided weakness, one arm will stay higher.
  • S – Speech – Check for slurred speech or for difficulty choosing the right word.
  • T – Time – Look at the time and remember when symptoms start. Time is critical. Telling a healthcare provider when symptoms started will help them decide what treatment options are best.