Starving dog abandoned with recliner thrives in forever home

It’s hard to believe that a robust, happy dog who loves playing with his canine “sister,” eating ice cream and lounging on his family’s sofas nearly starved to death less than two months ago.

But it’s true. The 4-month-old puppy dubbed La-Z-Boy Gatson after being found abandoned with a dumped recliner and TV on a remote road in Mississippi is now thriving with his new family in Plymouth, Michigan.
La-Z-Boy Gatson nearly starved to death while waiting for the owner who dumped him with a recliner and TV on a remote road in Mississippi.Photo courtesy of Sharon Norton
Dave Trammell, 32, told TODAY that he and his girlfriend, Sommer Guy, drove over 15 hours in late July to meet and adopt La-Z-Boy Gatson after hearing his viral story, which was first reported by TODAY on June 25.
“Something about the way he looked just touched me,” Trammell recalled. “He just looked so cute and sad.”
La-Z-Boy Gatson felt so relaxed in his new home that he started sleeping with his belly up within days of moving in.Photo courtesy of Dave Trammell
After being nursed back to health by veterinarians and the staff at Brookhaven Animal Shelter and Brookhaven Animal Rescue League — including treatment for ringworm — La-Z-Boy Gatson was ready for adoption. Trammell was thrilled for the chance to adopt the pup, who quickly adjusted to life in his new home.
La-Z-Boy Gatson and his "sister" enjoy ice cream and other indulgences.Photo courtesy of Dave Trammell

Give him the exercise he needs. All pets need regular exercise to stay fit and to release their energy. Without it, your pet will begin to act out. Young pets that do not get enough exercise are more likely to develop negative behavioral issues that lead many to give up their pet.

“He’s been through a lot, but I would say by day three or four, he was sleeping belly up right next to me — just settled in as ever,” he said. “I think he just wanted to have a home. You could tell he was really appreciative when we got here.”

La-Z-Boy loves playing with the couple’s other rescue dog, Penelope, a 9-month-old mixed-breed dog. The two have become fast friends.

“We’ve taken them to the dog park. We’ve taken them out for ice cream and we’ve taken them around town,” Trammell said.

Trammell works in sales from his home office, so the dogs aren’t alone during the day. Fittingly, La-Z-Boy Gatson loves lounging on the family’s La-Z-Boy sofa and loveseat while Trammell is working.

“He’s got the demeanor of a 10-year-old,” he said. “He’s very, very mellow — a very good boy.”

La-Z-Boy Gatson, right, spends time with his pals Penelope, Andrew and Pee Wee.Photo courtesy of Dave Trammell
If Trammell has to go on the road, his parents care for La-Z-Boy and Penelope with help from their Chihuahua, Pee Wee, and basset hound, Andrew. It’s a tightknit pack.
Once skin and bones, La-Z-Boy now weighs around 45 pounds and is still growing thanks to his healthy appetite.Photo courtesy of Dave Trammell

La-Z-Boy’s health is good and he has a voracious appetite. If Trammell tears open a bag of chips, for instance, the dog suddenly appears at his side. The 6-month-old pup weighs around 45 pounds now.

Celebrate Your Pet at Every Age. Everyone loves a new puppy or kitten, says Dr. Becker. “They’re wildly kinetic, and humorous. An older pet is thinner, bonier. Their coats aren’t as soft, they might have bad breath.” But, like people, a pet’s needs change with age. They may be less active, preferring a leisurely stroll to a rollicking tug-of-war. “Our old retriever, who’s blind, still wants to retrieve.” Adapting to their changing needs will ensure your old friend remains a healthy and happy member of your family.

“He’s going to be a big boy,” Trammell said with a laugh. “He’s eating good.”

Trammell hopes La-Z-Boy Gatson’s story will inspire other people to give pets a second chance by adopting animals from shelters. Even when dogs have experienced trauma like La-Z-Boy Gatson, they can make wonderful pets, he said.
Dave Trammell and Sommer Guy drove over 15 hours from Michigan to Mississippi to meet La-Z-Boy Gatson. Less than an hour later, they signed the adoption papers and drove their new pup home.Photo courtesy of Dave Trammell

“I thought he’d have some distrust in people and be scared, but even on the ride home, he didn’t cry at all,” he said. “He’s a very happy boy. He couldn’t be a better dog child. He finally gets an opportunity to relax and you can just tell he’s loving it.”

Follow La-Z-Boy Gatson’s adventures on Instagram at