We wake up in the morning, most of us to the sound of an alarm clock, with fresh-brewed coffee waiting as part of our normal routine. Take the dog outside and sit down to a hot breakfast, listening to the morning weather, traffic and news before leaving for work.
As always, your pet by your side, even up to the time you walk out the door, looking into those drooping, saddened eyes. Your dog knows the routine, laying on the back of the couch, waiting for you to come home.
Then there is the dog now known as Axel. How was his life? What was his routine? The answers to these questions are anyone's guess at this point.
Animal Services Officer Steve Bell was writing reports when he was approached by someone who advised he saw a dog wandering in the 200 block of 60th Avenue West in Bradenton. This dog was not like any other roaming dog. This dog was described as having a large gash on its head.
Officer Bell responded to the area and received a call from another concerned citizen in the area, pinpointing the location of the dog. Officer Bell found the dog, later to be known as Axel, with a large and deep laceration in his head.
Axel was conscious and attentive, appearing as if he didn't know how to react as Officer Bell approached. Axel jumped into the Animal Services van as if he knew help had arrived. Officer Bell drove to Beach Veterinary Clinic so Dr. Luke Berglund could examine the dog.
Axel jumped out of the van wagging his tail as if he had no injury at all. According to Dr. Berglund, Axel was lucky to be alive. Who knows what Axel's fate would have been had
no one called; had no onefound him; had no one cared.
Axel is fixed up nowand on the road to recovery because of those who care.
Now, let's focus on those who obviously didn't care. What did Axel do to justify the injury he received? Looking at Axel's demeanor, licking your face and wagging his tail nothing.
No animal deserves to be treated cruelly, no matter what. So, where is the deviant responsible for causing the injury to Axel? If this person could do something like this to a dog, what could this person do to another person?
As horrific as this is and as painful as it must have been for Axel, he continues to be in excellent spirits. To know him is to see his unconditional love. To know that a human did this to him, you would assume Axel would be aggressive, maybe thinking all humans would try to inflict pain and injury to him, just as this heartless person did.
Where are you, cruel and heartless person? Why don't you just turn yourself in and face the consequences for your actions? All this toward a defenseless animal? Who are you? Look into the mirror. How can you look at yourself and think what you did was all right?
Others think differently. So far, more than $13,600 has been offered for the arrest and conviction of the person who did this to Axel.
Someone had to see what happened. Someone has to know something. The person who did this probably told someone else about what they had done, whether out of guilt or bragging. You need to come forward and make it right for Axel. Justice needs to be served.
If anyone has any information, or if you want to turn yourself in, call CrimeStoppers at 866-634-TIPS or Manatee County Sheriff's Office, 941-747-3011, or Manatee County Animal Services, 941-742-5933. Do it for Axel, do it for yourself, do it today, and do it NOW! You have no excuse not to do the right thing.
If you never have to look into the eyes of a dog or cat and make a choice, you are lucky. One day, we all would like to be lucky, too.
Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Bradenton Herald.