Dog Named ‘Lazarus’ Survives Euthanasia Attempt

OZARK, Ala. — Animal control officer Wanda Snell knows what she saw: A veterinarian inserted a needle into the black-and-brown mutt and injected a chemical meant to euthanize the dog no one had adopted. The animal moved a bit and was still and quiet by the time she left the shelter for home. What Snell can't explain is how or why a mixed-breed dog that nobody wanted recovered overnight and has since bounced back fully from what should have been a lethal injection.

Less than a month later, the dog lives with a family in a suburb of the Alabama city of Birmingham, where the animal romps and plays with another rescue dog. His survival seemed all the more surprising since the same dog already been struck by a car before arriving at the Ozark City Animal Shelter.

A rescue worker who retrieved the roughly 4-year-old male dog after the failed procedure named him "Lazarus" after the man the Bible says Jesus brought back to life.

Snell has another name for that escape artist of a dog. "I call him Houdini," she said.No one connected with the shelter is exactly sure what happened to prevent Lazarus' death, and officials declined to release the name of the contract veterinarian who performed the injection.

Shelter volunteer Cortney Blankenship has an idea, however. "His body overcame and he had a will to live and somehow, someway he made it through," said Blankenship. Jane Holston of Helena is now serving as Lazarus' foster mother. The dog has been diagnosed with a dangerous case of heart worms but is on medication. And the leg damaged from the car accident is in a cast and on the mend.

Image: Jane Holston, Lazarus
Lazarus, a mixed-breed dog who survived a euthanasia attempt and a car accident, sits by his new owner, Jane Holston, in Helena, Ala., on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Jay Reeves / AP


— The Associated Press