Axl came to us five years ago as a stray. He was quirky and a bit scary until you got to know him. The crazy mutt growled when you petted him! But we eventually figured out that he thought he was purring. If he was really happy he would flop over on his back, offering up his belly for a scratch, all the while snarling and baring his teeth. (He never bit a soul, by the way.)
I always wondered how he came to be standing by the side of the road near our home, sore-footed and covered with ticks, but not scrawny. He was good at capturing small creatures for supper and ate moths by the bucket load, so there’s no telling how long he might have survived on his own camped out by the stream before I came along and invited him for a car ride.
In the days when we were putting up posters to find his owners, we became more and more attached. He followed us around so closely his nose bumped our calves, and we couldn’t help but wonder if he was worried he’d be abandoned again.
By the time the two weeks grace period we’d given the owners to answer our ads and posters had run out, we were all relieved he was still with us. We quickly had him neutered and microchipped . . . and learned on drives to the vet that he was prone to motion sickness. Maybe someone pushed him out of the car after one too many pukes on that twisty road.
He seemed well trained, and came every time he was called even before he had a name. He borrowed our other dog’s name for a while until he got his own, racing to get there first when we called her. She was not so obedient, so it wasn’t much of a race.
It took us a few months more to figure out he was epileptic. But that was easily kept in check by a few measly pills each day. No reason to toss such a good dog into the wilderness.
He was loving and energetic, and so smart we started talking about going for a “KLAW” instead of a “WALK” so he wouldn’t get too excited before we managed to get out the door.
Axl seemed so strong and resilient that I took for granted that he would be with us a good long time. Fate had other plans.
I will miss him forever.