LARGO — There are roughly up to 500 boys in the world — and only boys — who suffer from NEMO deficiency syndrome, a rare genetic illness that affects the nervous system and leave one susceptible to infections.
Peyton Kudrnovsky and his brother Trevor are among them. Two weeks ago, 15-year-old Peyton lost his Golden Retriever Axl Rose, who had been a part of the family for 12 years. Axl always sat by Peyton’s side during his infusions.
Then on Saturday, his family brought home a new four-legged member of the family: Toby.
Toby is a Huskypoo — a mix between a Siberian Husky and a poodle — donated to the 15-year-old by the Petland Largo store.
Petland Largo manager Miranda Schimenek said they decided to donate Toby after they learned about Peyton’s story and the loss of Axl. The store at 10289 Ulmerton Road will also provide veterinary care and training for Toby, according to a press release.
The loss of Axl was particularly hard for Peyton, said his mother Tatiana Lee. Axl had been there every step of the way through the 15-year-old’s medical treatments, she said. Axl was given to Peyton by his stepfather, Kyle Resler. But the stepfather died two years ago from cancer.
“Over two years ago, we lost a loved one to terminal cancer,” the mother said in a statement. “Peyton had formed a very close bond with him. He was Peyton’s support system through the illness and we all miss Kyle very much.”
They also miss Axl, who helped the family after they lost their stepfather.
“He was there for us through the loss of my son’s stepdad, Kyle, and would sit by Peyton as he had his infusions each week — he was our rock, and we know he is looking down on us,” she said. “Toby will be an incredible addition to our family and I cannot thank Petland enough for their incredibly gracious gesture.”