Fearing a lion cub was loose on the streets of Norfolk, Va., a concerned citizen called 911 Tuesday morning. Turns out it was a Labradoodle – a cross between a poodle and Labrador retriever – with a fancy hairstyle.
Police eventually concluded it was a neighborhood pet, but not before contacting the Virginia Zoo and having the facility confirm that all its large cats were accounted for.
The dog in question, named Charles the Monarch, is owned by Daniel Painter, a loyal fan of nearby Old Dominion University. Charles sports what is popularly known in the pet grooming world as a "lion's cut" clipping, featuring a shaved body with combed out hair around the head and neck area to resemble a mane, as well as hair on the paws and tail – usually only on the tip.
Painter has Charles named and clipped that way in honor of Old Dominion's athletic teams, called "The Monarchs," that have a lion mascot.
Having shared multiple photos of Charles the Monarch over the Internet, the dog has gained a following, with a Facebook page of 2,200-plus fans and more than 200 subscribers on Twitter.
According to Painter, there's even an online petition to make Charles an official mascot of Old Dominion, though he admits it hasn't gotten very far.
"I tell people he's a Lab-a-lion, and half the people believe that," Painter said in an interview with The Virginia Pilot
According to Painter, this wasn't the first time Charles has generated calls to the police. Because the dog often accompanies him to tailgating parties, loves to be at the university's campus pizzeria, and is occasionally let off its leash at a local park situated near the zoo, Painter recalls seeing individuals running to their cars in fear.
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