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Posted: August 26, 2014 10:00 p.m.

KING goes home

Family adopts missing Newton County man’s dog

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Hopefully, King’s days of needing saving are in the past.

He was the sole survivor of a number of dogs thought to have been thrown over a bridge on Hwy. 138 when he was six months old. He survived euthanization through gassing, the sole remainder of about 10 dogs. Then, he returned alone four days after going on a walk with his owner, Robert “Bobby” Weaver, who has not been seen since that day in September 2013. And with Bobby gone, King, who survived so many times, needed help once more.

Now King has three dogs to play with and a family that prevented him from being euthanized again. When Animal Medical of Covington Inc. gave King a temporary haven after Weaver’s grandmother, Evelyn Weaver, moved to Indiana and was unable to care for the last thing she said she had of her grandson, King needed saving one last time.

“I read the article in The News (from May 8, 2014), and something said to me that is Brandon’s dog,” said Cynthia Ballew. “I went to meet him before I told Brandon just to make sure.”

Her husband, Brandon Ballew, said he was uncertain about adopting a pitbull because they have “such a bad reputation.”

But they had to put their first dog down in May after having him for 14 years. So they went to Animal Medical, joking about adopting another dog. They currently have Shelli, a 14-year-old black lab, Happi, a three-year-old Chihuahua, and Princess Leia, a five-month-old Chihuahua-yorkie mix.

“He shattered all the myths,” Brandon Ballew said. “It’s almost been too good to be true. I liked him from the first day I met him.”

Now about 70 pounds — he’s lost about 10 since taking up residence with the Ballew family – King still acts like a large, excited puppy.

He no longer eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but he still loves his treats, Brandon Ballew said. He kept getting King toys, but he would eat through them all. Finally, Brandon Ballew found a bone that he has loved and not devoured. And he likes playing with a soccer ball, which both Brandon and Cynthia Ballew said was great since their whole family plays soccer.

“Everybody who meets him falls in love with him,” Brandon Ballew said.

While King has a new, loving home, full of soccer balls and diet dog food, and does not show any signs of his past traumas, the Ballews acknowledged their gift came from a tragic circumstance.

“Ideally, we’d love for him to be returned back to his original owner because that would mean he’s safe,” Brandon Ballew said. “Obviously, we love him, and we’re glad we have him. But it’s something great for us that’s come from a bad situation.”

He said if Bobby Weaver were to be found, he would return King to the man who fought at least twice to save him.

Newton County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Cortney Morrison said there were no new updates available in the search for Weaver between the time of the last News article in May and present.

In May, Evelyn Weaver offered a $4,000 reward for information leading to Bobby Weaver’s location or to the arrest and conviction of those responsible if foul play was involved in his disappearance. Contact Detective Digby at 678-625-1448 or submit anonymous tips by calling 678-625-5007 or emailing anonymoustipline@newtonsheriffga.org.

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