My son, daughter, and I drove to the animal shelter to look for a dog and that was when we first saw Axel.
Funnily enough, we didn't even make it inside the shelter. We had parked next to a car that had puppies hopping between the seats. We couldn't help but look through the windows of the car and watch all of those cute little puppies, thirteen in all. We started to walk away but a man walked out of the animal shelter and yelled at us, "You all want some puppies?" We stood there for a second and he explained that because he was an out-of-county resident, the shelter wouldn't take the puppies. He said, "You can take all you want at no charge."
We ended up leaving with 2 adorable puppies, soon to be named Axel and Otis. When we got home, little Axel just sat and looked around...he was a very shy and timid little thing, but he soon came out of his shell. Otis was full of curiosity and immediately started exploring. When my husband came home from work that day and saw that I had brought home two puppies, he just looked at me and shook his head. He said that he didn't want a dog, let alone two of them, but little did he know that he and Axel would become the best of buddies.
Both of the puppies were not easily house-trained, but we tried for several months with not much success. One evening I just got fed up with cleaning messes throughout the house and I decided to put the pups in the garage. I said they would stay there until they became house-trained. That night my husband could hear them whining and he went to the garage. He spent the night with both pups lying on his lap and that is where they all slept (yes, in the garage). My husband did this for two more nights making me feel bad until I said, "If you're willing to do this for two little puppies that you didn't even want, then let's bring them back in." Surprisingly, both pups became house-trained very quickly. Axel started to get really attached to my husband after this, and it was obvious that my husband had a soft spot for Axel too. Axel loved all of us and we loved him, but there was a connection between my husband and Axel that was undeniable!!
Life took Otis away from us in 2011. Things weren't the same-Axel clearly missed his brother as much as we did. He started to lean on us as much as we leaned on him. Our shy, Axel started to seek us out more for couch cuddles and bedtime snuggles. We started taking him on more car rides and shared more not-so-healthy snacks. Axel was our only pup for several years before another dog was brought into our house. He was not amused, one bit. Once he realized that our new pup was not going anywhere, you could read on his face the expression of, "Alright, I guess I'll try to play." After they started to play, Axel accepted the new addition and together they made our house lively again. Axel continued to welcome all of the new additions the same way. As my children grew older and had children and pets of their own, Axel would remain our cautious guardian.
In June of 2023, we found out Axel had a mass cell tumor and he had surgery within two weeks to remove the cancer. Because of his age, we were concerned about him having surgery but decided it was in his best interest to go ahead. He did very well and healed up nicely-the doctors were happy with his progress too. Things were going well for him until November when we noticed the lump coming back in the same spot as before. We took him to the vet the next day and found out his tumor was back. The vet said he gave him only 4-6 months. We couldn't just do nothing for our Axel, so we made an appointment with MedVet in Columbus, Ohio (a 3.5 hour drive from our home). This facility offered better resources that could potentially help him. After several consultations and with the tumor getting larger every day, we decided along with Axel's oncologist to start with Chemotherapy. Sadly, after his first treatment, he made a drastic turn for the worse. He started to blister and bleed; he was so, so tired; and he started to feel more pain.
Axel was a shadow of his former self and there was nothing that we could do. We called the vets, sought advice, and tried everything that we could, but Axel was going downhill, fast. Two days after his first treatment, we called a vet to our home to help end his suffering. As hard as it was, we had no choice. Axel went to sleep in his bed, with his blanket, surrounded by everyone who loved him and who he loved.
We had Axel for 13 years, 4 months and 4 days. He was such a wonderful part of our family and we did not want him to live his final days in any pain or discomfort of any kind. We miss him so much that it truly hurts.
We will forever love you, Axel!!