NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - A dog and his owner are becoming a "mane" attraction in Norfolk. The police department received several calls Tuesday about a "lion" loose near the Virginia Zoo.
The investigation was cut short when officials uncovered the animal was not quite as exotic as some residents initially thought.
"At first, we all looked at each other like, 'Could it be?'" Virginia Zoo Executive Director Greg Bockheim said.
Workers rushed to see if lions Zola and Mramba had escaped, but the sleeping cats hadn't moved a muscle.
"And, immediately I knew the other lion in town," Bockheim said.
To everyone's relief, the "lion" turned out to be Charles the Monarch , a Labradoodle with a haircut styled to look like Old Dominion University's mascot, Big Blue.
"We call him our lab-ra-lion," joked Natalie Painter, the dog's owner.
Her father, Daniel Painter, bought the dog as a puppy four years ago, when Natalie began her freshman year at Old Dominion University. The school's mascot is a lion, which is where the Painter got the idea for Charlie's haircut.
The dog's fur is cut short, and its "mane" is dyed a darker color.
"Now, he turned into so much of a celebrity that it's her dog again," Daniel Painter laughed. "And I'm fine with that!"
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