Axel was my first Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. And though his time on this earth was tragically cut short, dying the day after his sixth birthday, his very full but too-short life has truly changed me. Were it not for Axel, there would be no Swissies in my life. I would not count so many of the friends he brought into my life as some of the best friends I have known. And most importantly, he has colored my passion for this breed, and informed my ethics and priorities as a breeder of Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs.
Although Axel was gorgeous, sound, with his championship and all his health clearances, I made the decision not to breed Axel due to epilepsy risks in his pedigree. On 6/5/08, Axel had his first grand mal seizure at four years, four months and four days old. Axel taught me what it is like to live with an epileptic Swissy. He left this world on February 2, 2010 due to complications from a massive episode of seizures that began the night before. I have chronicled Axel's battle with epilepsy, so that others with Swissies or those just learning about the breed can learn and understand what it means to live with this dreaded disease.
I have to thank Axel's breeders and co-owners, Mike and Amber Rusk in Indiana, for entrusting me with their "pick boy" from their first litter. I could not have asked for a more beautiful, loving dog, and it was Axel's combination of beauty, grace, and sweet personality that truly sold me on this breed.
Axel, winning Best in Sweeps at CT River Working Group Association, at 13 months of age.
Axel, at 20 months of age.
Axel, earning his HCT, at 19 months of age.
It was love at first site, for Axel -- he adored working those sheep!
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