Storm fear ‘too much’ for Ozzy’s adoptive family

Ozzy, an 8-year-old black Lab, was originally surrendered in March.

Ozzy’s fairytale happy ending has been postponed due to his intense fear of thunderstorms.

The 8-year-old black Lab was returned Saturday to the Charleston Animal Society.

The dog first gained attention in March when a rescue group worker said Ozzy would likely be euthanized after he was surrendered to the society by a West Ashley family.

At the shelter, he was neutered and treated for heartworms, which his former owners did not know he had, while workers weeded through a list of 35 families who asked to adopt him.

Because the 90-pound pooch needed to be kept indoors and have limited activity, he was placed with a foster family for a week, and then adopted three weeks ago by Lorie Ballard of Summerville and her son, Andrew Holgren, 27.

“It seemed like a perfect match,” said society spokeswoman Kay Hyman.

Holgren, who is a paraplegic, said Ozzy is calm and likes playing tug-of-war. He taught the dog to sit with a biscuit on his head and wait for the command to eat it.

“I don’t know if he’s been trained before or not, but he learns pretty quickly,” Holgren said.

Last week when it stormed, the family was surprised at Ozzy’s intense fear, jumping on furniture and hiding. They tried sedating him and bought a “thundershirt” to ease their pet’s anxiety.

Nothing worked. “They had gotten very attached to him,” Hyman said. “But when they realized the severity of Ozzy’s fear of storms, it was just too much for them to handle.”

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or