CAMDENTON, Mo. – On Oct. 30, the Jenkins family’s Miniature Australian Shepherd, Axl, went missing without a trace. After a week of exhausting every avenue in search of their lost family pet, Axl was finally located – over 1,200 miles away in Utah.
Stephanie Jenkins let Axl and their Doberman Pinscher, Bella, outside as part of her usual morning routine. When only Bella returned home later, Jenkins convinced herself that Axl had found a lady friend and would be home later, but that wasn’t the case.
“Whenever the sun went down that night, I just kind of started losing it,” Jenkins told The Heartlander. “I was like, ‘He’s gone, something is wrong.’”
Jenkins said it was especially devastating because Axl came into her life during a very dark time and her two children have known him their entire lives.
“He’s just such a good dog. He is very much a part of the family,” she said.
Jenkins and her husband, Justin, began joining every local yard sale and commerce page to share pictures of Axl. They also offered rewards and put up hundreds of flyers to get the word out, but hadn’t had any luck.
Suddenly, a tip came in from a dog groomer who had remembered a young couple that brought a dog fitting Axl’s description into her shop. The couple claimed that they found Axl along the road and decided to take him in. The shop was located in Lebanon, so there was a sliver of hope.
After a long day of searching, Justin received another phone call with the best of news – Axl had been found. The Jenkins’ were relieved and ecstatic until they found out that Axl was 1,240 miles away in Brigham City, Utah.
The young couple previously spotted in Lebanon with Axl had made their way to Utah, but ended up giving Axl away to a woman named Shakira, saying they weren’t able to keep him.
Shakira knew Axl had belonged to someone else when she found his collar along with the Jenkins family contact information in a box the couple had given her.
Stephanie said there is no way to know what all happened to Axl while he was taken and that he wasn’t himself for a few days once returning. But after sleeping for a solid two days to recuperate from the interstate road trip, he’s doing just fine.
The Jenkins family tried to give Shakira the reward money but she kindly refused the offer, saying ‘it was the right thing to do’. Stephanie expressed her family’s sincerest gratitude for Shakira and the entire community for helping them.
“There are still good people left in this world.” Jenkins said.
Those interested can watch the full reunion video of Axl and the Jenkins family here.