September 22, 2020

Now in foster care, abandoned La-Z-Boy puppy’s outlook getting better

An abandoned pup is living large now that he’s become an international celebrity.

Brookhaven Animal Control Officer Roxanne Norton found the 4-month-old Doberman-hound dog mix June 24 dumped on the side of Gatson Trail off New Sight Drive. He was sitting in a recliner surrounded by garbage. He was skinny and she said it looked like he hadn’t moved from the spot in a while, just waiting for his humans to return.

Norton tried to coax him off the chair but he wouldn’t budge. Finally, with some doggie treats and sweet words, she got him into her arms.

Angered and disappointed that someone would leave such a gentle puppy to starve, Norton posted a photo of him on Facebook and took the dog she named Lazy Boy Gaston to Brookhaven Animal Rescue League, a no-kill shelter, rather than to the city pound.

Word spread and BARL received messages from around the globe from folks checking on the pup’s welfare. But one message really stood out, said BARL Executive Director Lu Becker.

Furniture manufacturer La-Z-Boy heard about the rescue and reached out to Becker. Along with a “generous donation to BARL,” Becker said, La-Z-Boy is donating 50 pet beds to the animal shelter so that Lazy Boy Gatson and other animals can be comfortable during their stay at BARL while waiting for adoption.

The company is contemplating naming a new outdoor pet bed “The Gatson” and including the puppy as part of the product’s launch to recognize his loyalty, she said.

Since arriving at BARL, Lazy Boy has been checked by a vet, neutered and received some medical care. He is enjoying himself with foster mom Mary Bowman at her Brookhaven home — with a pool —while Becker and her board sift through the many applications to find the perfect forever home for the pup. Bowman took the puppy home with her Thursday, and once he’s adopted, he’ll go with his new owner.

Since he was a bit underweight and needed some one-on-one TLC, BARL placed him with Bowman until his adoption. His foster mom has seven other dogs of her own, so he hasn’t been lonely.

“He’s made a lot of friends,” Bowman said.

Bowman describes Lazy Boy as a dog that wants to be close to his owner.

“He likes to be right beside you wherever you go,” she said. “He’s very obedient and smart, and whoever gets him will be able to train him.”

Bowman said she’s worked with the puppy on house training and other tricks, and that he’s having an easy time.

She hopes his new owner will be someone who will take care of him forever and treat him like a family member.

As for finding Lazy Boy Gatson’s owners, Norton doesn’t think anything will come from it.

The area where the dog was abandoned is a part of Gatson Trail where there are no houses on either side of the road, only trees.

If his owners were found, there would be a fine, Norton said. The fine would most likely be for neglect, and there would be a dumping fine.

“They know,” Norton said. “It’s been all over the papers. They know what they did wrong.”

BARL is a limited intake and no-kill facility. The animal shelter is on a limited budget and is mostly run by volunteers, with three part-time employees.

At the beginning of 2019 to July 1, BARL has taken in 412 dogs and puppies and 219 cats and kittens, with the shelter only being equipped to take care of 58 dogs and 16-20 cats at a given time.

The animal shelter has adopted out 163 cats and 139 dogs since the beginning of the year.

BARL is always looking for foster homes and donations, monetary and otherwise, Becker said.

For more information, call BARL at 601-757-4367.

Story by Gracie Byrne