A German shepherd who narrowly escaped death at a shelter went on to become a nominee for National Hero Dog of the Year.
A group called K9s for Warriors rescued Axel from the pound in hopes that he might be able to rescue a wounded warrior – Marine Captain Jason Haag, who was injured twice while serving in Iraq.
Haag, who lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and suffers from traumatic brain injury, had been withdrawing from life, staying in his basement and ignoring his wife and kids. At one time, he was taking 32 pills a day.
Nothing “worked” to alleviate the pain until he met Axel.
Within a week of adopting the pup, Haag was attending his son’s baseball game, for the first time in years.
“He can wake me up out of nightmares, take me out of flashbacks,” Haag told WUSA in a video.
Axel was later nominated for the American Humane Association’s ‘Hero Dog of the Year’ award for 2015.
Since 2011, K9s for Warriors has placed 159 service dogs with veterans who need assistance.
In this case, though, Haag likes to think they both saved each other.
Donations to K9s for Warriors go toward the training of more dogs to rescue more veterans.
Photos courtesy of American Humane Association.