Hero border collie woke up the parents of a teen having a stroke

Dogs are winning the week, no contest. On Monday we cheered Brett Michaels-the-husky, the good samaritan pup who donated blood to a kitten in need, and was subsequently adopted by Brett Michaels-the-human. Tuesday we celebrated the well-lived life of the world’s oldest dog, Bobi, who passed away at the impressive age of 31. Today we honor another canine hero. In late August, one-year-old border collie Axel woke up his people parents, Amanda and Daines Tanner, in the wee hours of the morning. Daines reluctantly got out of bed to let Axel outside, but Axel went in another direction. He steadfastly stood outside the door of 17-year-old Gabriel Silva (Daines’ stepson), so Daines opened the bedroom door. There he found Gabriel slurring his speech and paralyzed on the right side of his body — he was having a stroke. Now several weeks into a very promising recovery, the doctor did not mince words in stating that were it not for Axel, Gabriel’s symptoms would have become permanent, if not fatal.

“Axel has always been very intuitive. He can tell when something is wrong — like if we are feeling down or stressed — and he does his best to fix the problem,” Gabriel tells PEOPLE. “That morning he must have sensed I needed help so he woke up someone who could help.”

Amanda and Daines rushed Gabriel to the emergency room, where the high school senior was then transferred to Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center for specialized care from Dr. Sabih Effendi, a neurosurgeon and the hospital’s stroke medical director.

When Gabriel was first seen, he had completely lost the ability to speak and the right side of his body was significantly weak. Effendi performed a cerebral angiogram and discovered that Gabriel had an artery dissection, a tear along the inside lining of an artery, which caused an ischemic stroke.

The teen was given blood thinners to quickly restore blood flow to his brain. Doctors said that if he hadn’t received medical attention when he did, his symptoms would have become permanent and Gabriel would’ve been “unable to be functional in life.”

Effendi said Axel made a “massive” difference in Gabriel’s outcome by alerting the parents.

“Millions of neurons are lost each minute that passes during an ischemic stroke, ultimately impacting speech and movement and could even result in death,” he tells PEOPLE. “Had the family dog not alerted Gabriel’s parents, and had Gabriel’s parents not identified his symptoms as stroke symptoms, the time to treatment could have been severely delayed resulting in a much different outcome for Gabriel.”

“Instead, Gabriel is walking, talking and looking forward to finishing his senior year of high school,” Effendi adds.

Gabriel spent a week in the hospital under close supervision before he was transferred to TIRR MEmorial Hermann. While there, he underwent intense physical, occupational, and speech therapy to restore some of the functions that were lost due to the stroke.

Today, the teen is making progress in outpatient therapy, hoping to return to school and soccer in the coming weeks. “I feel like I was before,” Gabriel told Today.

Meanwhile, Axel has been by Gabriel’s side since the health scare and Amanda told the outlet she wants to get the dog a medal or honor for his collar.

“He’s now tasked with following Gabriel everywhere,” she said. “He’s now sleeping with Gabriel more, and Gabriel’s doors are open so he can go in and out. He’s always been very sensitive to everything and everybody’s emotions at home.”

[From People]

A medal for his collar?! Get that good boy steak dinners for life!! I don’t know if it was down to his super hearing, super sniffing, or super heart, but Axel knew he had a man down and acted quickly and clearly. I love love love that his job now is to stick like glue to Gabriel. Will Axel get to go to high school with Gabriel when he returns? I think he’d be an excellent student. Axel could learn more about his person’s body in biology class, and sharpen his speech skills in English (for public speaking gigs undoubtedly in his future). As for calculus, well he couldn’t possibly comprehend it less than I did. Come spring this good boy could be crowned Prom King.

My Girl and I have our squabbles, usually about food and the frequency of dispensation thereof. But most of the time I feel like my heart is about to burst while trying to fathom the unconditional love she and her fellow dogs show us. May we strive to be worthy of that love. (Uh oh, she had been snuffle-snoring quite loudly and using my foot as a pillow, but I think she just registered that I said “steak dinner.” Now I’m in trouble.)

Photos courtesy Amanda Tanner on Facebook

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