A young dog at the right place, at the right time

Homer the dog lying on his side on the floor
After meeting Homer at an art museum, the Thomases couldn’t stop thinking about him, so they made him the newest canine member of their family.
By Jenny Agnew

Never underestimate the joy of saying yes to love. On a Saturday in late May, the Thomas family was strolling through the grounds of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. On that same day, Best Friends in Arkansas just happened to be holding an adoption event outside of the museum. Mandy Thomas took one look at Homer, a striking tan dog with a black mask, jaunty ears and speckled legs, and fell instantly in love. Her four kids did, too.

[Survivor dog starts a new life with a loving family]

With the Thomases already having two senior dogs, Mandy’s husband, Jordan, reminded her that they were not in the market for a new dog that day, joking that he knew he was being a “grouch.” But then he saw their Bryson, their five-year-old son, instantly connect with Homer over a quiet game of stick, and started to change his mind.

Still, Mandy and Jordan decided to leave that day without Homer to think it over. When they found themselves worried that someone would adopt Homer before they did, they sent several emails to Best Friends declaring their interest. Two days later after meeting Homer at the museum, he became the newest canine member of the Thomas family.

Never underestimate the power of fostering

That magical moment came at the end of a long road for Homer. Months earlier when he arrived at Best Friends from the animal shelter in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, he was like a “big, awkward puppy,” says Sarah Lorenzen, Best Friends lifesaving and care specialist, who also noted that the gentle, affectionate fellow loves attention.

[Rallying for Fergus]

At that time, Homer was often fearful of new experiences, and when he went to his first foster home he initially cowered when he went outside. Soon, however, he learned how to play with the other dogs and the kids in the home (something that would help him feel instantly at ease with Bryson).

Over the next three months, Homer spent time refining his people skills and learning how to channel his playful energy. Then, in late May, just before his foster family was scheduled to leave town, Homer put into practice his new manners at that fateful day at the museum.

A dog who lives up to his name

Today, Homer is enjoying affection and attention in his new home. With four kids and two dogs to keep him company, he’s flush with friends.

Jordon says Homer has brought new energy to their home, and both of their senior dogs have perked up thanks to his young vibe. And notes that Homer, the smartest dog he’s ever adopted, also knows multiple words and recognizes his toys by their names (Monkey and Dragon). But then, what else would you expect from a dog named after a legendary author?

[A perfect storybook ending for a mama dog in need]

Mandy and Jordan work from home, but Homer doesn’t interrupt their jobs. They say he knows that outside is for roughhousing and inside is for being calm and polite. A typical day begins at 7:30 a.m. when Jordon’s alarm goes off and Homer is allowed some snuggle time in the bed.

Then Homer goes outside with his two older dog friends, Princess and Zailey. Zailey, a German shorthaired pointer, has developed a special friendship with Homer and the two enjoy playing endless games of tug of war and fetch.

All dog treats are taste-tested first by Jordan, who laughs while sharing this quirk —  one that some other dog lovers also might admit to. “He’s not really a dog,” Jordan says. “He’s one of the humans.”

Now Homer goes everywhere with them. Although hesitant to ride in the car at first, he has come to learn that car trips usually mean visiting his favorite store, which happens to be a dog bakery, where he gets to pick out his favorite peanut butter treat.

“We’ve had a lot of fun with him,” says Jordan, of the dog who was in the right place at the right time back in May. Saying yes to bringing Homer into the family turned out to be just what they all needed.

Foster to help save a life

Give a pet like Homer the extra support needed, by temporarily opening your heart and home.

Foster a pet

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