One member of Ogle County Classifieds got the fright of her life when their beloved family dog went missing one Tuesday afternoon.
Meet Axyl. He was adopted when he was just an eight-week-old pup. The “cutest and most loveable of the litter,” it wasn’t long before he held a special place in the hearts of the Curry family. “We’ve had dogs in the past and loved them all, but none compares to the love we all have [for] Axyl,” Dawn explains.
One Tuesday afternoon while Dawn was at work, she got a call from her youngest daughter, Trinity. Axyl had run off, and was not responding to her daughter’s calls.
Axyl had never run away before, but he would often linger at the neighbor’s. And he was always back within 15 minutes, so Dawn wasn’t too concerned.
But this time, Axyl didn’t come back.
“It became very real to us that night when he didn’t come home,” recalls Dawn. The entire family searched until dark, and finally registered Axyl as missing with their local sheriff’s office. But they didn’t stop there.
Dawn posted about her missing pet on Facebook and on a missing pet website, Lost Dogs of Illinois, while her family distributed flyers in five surrounding counties and made use of Amber Pet Alert, a service that reaches out to veterinarians, humane centers and pet supply stores within a five-mile radius.
“Every night I would look out the window and imagine him running out of the dark … with his big tongue hanging out the side of his mouth,” Dawn recalls.
Her eldest daughter, Jacqueline, shared their story with their VarageSale community, who also did all they could to help spread the word. Jacqueline was touched to receive messages from concerned members every day—from letting her know that they had seen a German shepherd who might be Axyl to simply checking in to see how the search was going.
“While we certainly made use of every single platform available to us, the genuine concern of our VarageSale community and their willingness to help was way beyond what I expected,” says Dawn. “This is the true meaning of community.”
In the end, it was a complete stranger who found Axyl.
After two weeks and hundreds of Axyl “sightings,” they finally got some promising news. When their phone rang one morning, a woman explained that a German Shepherd had been circling her vehicle and, fearing he might be hit by a car, she had called the sheriff’s office to pick him up.
After so much false hope, Dawn tried her best to remain calm. But when the woman emailed her some photos of the dog, Dawn knew in her heart it was him.
The good news had Dawn in tears so her daughter offered to drive the 60 miles to Crystal Lake, where Axyl was being held. “The hour drive seemed to take forever,” says Dawn. And the wait at the shelter, though only three minutes, felt “like an eternity.”
As they approached the dog’s cage, Dawn recognized a familiar bark. But when the dog came into her view, Dawn’s heart sank. This German shepherd was much skinnier than Axyl, and he was looking at the two women like he didn’t know them.
But Dawn couldn’t help herself. “Axyl, is that you good boy?” she called out. Immediately, he started crying and scratching at the cage. It was him! Axyl had been found.
Before even bringing him to the vet, Dawn and daughter wanted to let Axyl know how much they loved and missed him. So they “took him to McDonalds and got him a hamburger, which took him about [two] seconds to scarf down.”
Dawn and her family couldn’t be happier that Axyl is back, safe and sound. And Axyl? Well, he’s just thrilled “to be back in his house with his family and his food bowl!”