Heroic Border Collie Saves Teen’s Life During Sudden Stroke

In a heartwarming tale of heroism and quick thinking, a one-year-old Border Collie named Axel became a lifesaver for a 17-year-old teenager, Gabriel Silva, who suffered a sudden stroke.

Without Axel’s timely intervention, the outcome could have been far worse.

17-year-old teenager Gabriel Silva suffered an unexpected and sudden stroke.

Photo: Facebook / Amanda C Tanner
17-year-old teenager Gabriel Silva suffered an unexpected and sudden stroke.

A Sudden Stroke in the Night

Gabriel Silva, a healthy and athletic 17-year-old from Texas, experienced a life-altering event on the night of August 26. He initially complained of a headache, but he felt better after playing video games and decided to rest. As The Independent reports, Gabriel’s parents, unaware of the impending medical crisis, did not disturb him, assuming it was just a typical late-night for a teenager.

Axel’s Heroic Alert

In the early morning hours, Axel, the family’s loyal Border Collie, began a series of persistent actions that would save Gabriel’s life. According to The Guardian, he woke up Gabriel’s parents, Amanda and Daines Tanner, by pawing at them repeatedly.

“I thought you know, he’s waking me up at five in the morning. Not good timing, but he just needed to go outside to use the restroom,” Tanner said.

Without Axel's timely intervention, the outcome could have been far worse.

Photo: Facebook / Amanda C Tanner
Without Axel’s timely intervention, the outcome could have been far worse.

Little did they know that Axel’s behavior was driven by a deep sense that something was terribly wrong.

“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,” Silva told People magazine. “That morning he must have sensed I needed help so he woke up someone who could help.”

Axel’s refusal to leave Gabriel’s room and his unwavering focus on the teenager’s door convinced Daines to investigate further. Upon entering Gabriel’s room, Daines discovered his stepson in a dire condition. As the Washington Post reports, Gabriel was unable to speak clearly and couldn’t move the right side of his body.

Axel woke up Gabriel's parents, Amanda and Daines Tanner, by pawing at them repeatedly.

Photo: Facebook / Amanda C Tanner
Axel woke up Gabriel’s parents, Amanda and Daines Tanner, by pawing at them repeatedly.

A Timely Rescue

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the family rushed Gabriel to the emergency room, where doctors determined he was experiencing a spontaneous stroke. As The Guardian reports, Dr. Sabih Effendi, a neurosurgeon and stroke specialist, treated Gabriel at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Centre and emphasized the critical role Axel played in Gabriel’s recovery.

Had Axel not alerted the family, and had Gabriel not received immediate medical attention, the outcome could have been far more devastating. As ABC reports, the stroke resulted from an artery dissection, causing an obstruction in the blood flow to Gabriel’s brain.

Gabriel's stroke resulted from an artery dissection, causing an obstruction in the blood flow to his brain.

Photo: Facebook / Amanda C Tanner
Gabriel’s stroke resulted from an artery dissection, causing an obstruction in the blood flow to his brain.

“We went from senior pictures Friday to the hospital the next morning and a turn of events never expected,” Amanda Tanner wrote on a Facebook post.

“Our entire lives stopped in time for a bit and basically exploded. I saw these things in movies and testimonials but never thought I’d ever experience such a thing,” she said in the post.

Gabriel’s progress, driven by swift intervention, surprised medical professionals and his family alike.

Gabriel Silva thanks his dog Axel for helping him survive a stroke.

Photo: Facebook / Amanda C Tanner
Gabriel Silva thanks his dog Axel for helping him survive a stroke.

A Miraculous Recovery

In less than a week, Gabriel, who initially lost the ability to speak and had a weakened right hand, showed remarkable improvement. According to the New York Post, he underwent intensive therapy, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Gabriel’s journey from a hospital bed to therapy sessions and eventually home recovery has been nothing short of miraculous.

Today, Gabriel continues his recovery, attending therapy sessions multiple times a week, with the goal of re-enrolling in high school in time for the spring soccer season. His risk of a future stroke remains, ABC reports, but he takes blood thinners to mitigate this risk.

Gabriel's progress, driven by swift intervention, surprised medical professionals and his family alike.

Photo: Facebook / Amanda C Tanner
Gabriel’s progress, driven by swift intervention, surprised medical professionals and his family alike.

Axel, the Lifesaver

Through it all, Axel remains a constant and comforting presence in Gabriel’s life. As the New York Post maintains, he follows Gabriel everywhere, ensuring that his young friend is safe and supported during his recovery. Axel’s unwavering loyalty and acute sensitivity to his family’s emotions have solidified his role as a hero and a beloved family member.

Learn more in the video below.

The story of Gabriel and Axel is a testament to the remarkable bond between humans and their canine companions. It serves as a poignant reminder of the life-saving potential that our four-legged friends hold, even in the most unexpected and critical situations. Gabriel’s stroke could have been a life-altering tragedy, but thanks to Axel’s heroic actions, it became a story of resilience, hope, and the enduring power of the human-canine connection.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, spending time with his daughters, and coffee.
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