Prior to retiring from very busy careers, Jean and Alan Axtell always longed to have a dog. They knew their hectic work schedules didn’t allow them to devote enough time to caring and nurturing a dog as they would have liked. However, when Jean attended a luncheon hosted by Guide Dogs of Texas (GDTX), they knew the time was right to have a dog; not just any dog, but a very special dog named Yukon.
The Axtells are one of GDTX’s re-home families who have happily welcomed Yukon, a 9-year-old black Lab, into their lives. GDTX maintains a program to encourage individuals or families to adopt a former guide dog, also known as a re-home dog.
On occasion, guide dogs are released from their professional duties because of retirement age, temperament or health issues. When that happens, applicants are needed to adopt one of those dogs and welcome them into a home with lots of love and care.
Jean, 62, who retired from managing a doctor’s office, and her husband, Alan, 65, who retired after 31 years as superintendent of San Antonio Christian Schools, adopted Yukon in August. “Yukon is a big marshmallow and he will do anything for anybody,” Jean said. “He is the best dog ever.”
The Axtells encourage people to consider becoming a re-home family because it allows them to give back to a dog that has given so much to others during its service as a guide dog.
“Now we want to let Yukon relax,” Jean said. “He has brought so much joy to our lives, and we want to help him in his retirement, so this is a win-win.”