From a life on the streets to a glamorous job modeling with crystal and silver, Roxy’s was a rags-to-riches story.
Roxy, the chow mix who regularly greeted customers at Martin Miazza Gifts in Gulfport, died Thursday because of liver problems.
“She was 15 years old,” said store owner Kennedy Miazza White who, along with her husband, Norman, lavished love on her for most of those years. White posted about Roxy’s passing on the Martin Miazza Facebook page. “We both truly loved her.”
Alden Lovelace Lagasse, a Gulfport native and the wife of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, first saw the dog under an overpass in New Orleans, “homeless and looking for food,” White said. Lagasse is an animal lover, and she took the dog with soulful brown eyes into their home. Roxy was not only homeless, she also was pregnant.
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“She had 10 puppies,” White said. “I believe one of them died, but nine found homes.”
Meanwhile, a Gulfport resident whom Lagasse knew made Roxy a Mississippi dog. Perhaps it was habit, or perhaps it was her destiny. Whatever it was, something led Roxy to roam her neighborhood, and she quickly found the Whites.
“Roxy started coming to our house more and more. She really chose us. She decided she wanted to stay with us, and so the people who owned her gave her to us,” White said.
She showed no signs, but it turned out Roxy had heartworms. “(Veterinarian) Tracy Acosta took such good care of her; it took five years to rid her of the heartworms,” White said.
About 10 years ago, White began taking Roxy with her to the shop.
“She loved it, absolutely loved it. She went from roaming the streets to being around china and crystal and pottery,” White said, laughing. “She greeted everyone. Kids and adults, everyone loved her.”
She became White’s Facebook and Instagram model for the shop’s pages, posing next to silver julep cups, wearing pink bunny ears, carefully placing a paw on a piece of Annieglass, showing interest in a bottle of Captain Rodney’s Boucan Pepper Glaze and sporting seasonally appropriate bandanas.
“She was the best model,” White said. “She would follow me around the store, and I’d say ‘Sit,’ and she would sit and act like she knew just what to do. She was a natural.”
It made her a celebrity.
“We were walking out of Tracy’s office one day and somebody said her name. A lady in the waiting area looked up and said, ‘Is that Roxy from Facebook?’” White said.
“She was a super happy dog with the best disposition. She truly never met a stranger. When kids would come in, they would lie on her like she was a big pillow, and she loved it. And they loved her,” she said.
Roxy will be cremated, and White knows the perfect way to honor her.
“I may find the perfect piece of McCarty pottery for her, for her ashes,” she said. “Yes, I think that’s what I’ll do.”