I first met Homer on a very busy Highway 92 in Auburndale, Florida in February of 1996. It was a Saturday morning and John and I were on our way to the store. We had just made a right turn on Highway 92 when I noticed 2 dogs coming across the field heading straight for the highway. We pulled over but I was afraid if I got out of the car it might scare them and they would run into the road. I had to do something so I took a chance and decided to get out figuring if they started running for the street, I would try and chase them back.
As soon as I opened the car door, the little dog, which slightly resembled a Chihuahua mix, noticed me. He stopped and looked right at me. At that point I decided not to get out of the car but rather to just call him. As soon as I called, he came running and jumped right into the car and into my arms. His companion, who looked like an Australian Shepherd-Sheltie mix, stood and watched. John got out of the car at that point and walked over to her. She wasn’t the least bit afraid and let him pick her up and carry her to the car as well.
We then turned around and went back home to check them out and feed them. They were both covered with fleas so we gave them a bath at home and called the local PetSmart to get an appointment to take them in for regular grooming. We took them that afternoon and there was quite a big difference when we picked them up later that day. They really looked beautiful.
I ran an ad in the newspaper in the Lost Pet section. The ad ran for a week, but nobody claimed them. They were both very well trained and very good housedogs. I just can’t imagine anyone not wanting them back.
The ad was in the newspaper for a week. After a week, the dogs were in our lives permanently. The Chihuahua mix looked so much like our Chihuahua, Maggie, that for the first week we called him “Mr. Maggie.” When we knew he was going to stay, we renamed him Homer. His traveling companion was named Dusty II because she looked so much like our original Dusty (See earlier WebPage).
The vet estimated Homer to be about 3 years old when we brought him to live with us. He was in good health and what you might call, “The Perfect Pet”. We had him neutered about a month after he came to live with us. He developed a very bad infection a week later. We rushed him to the vet who gave him penicillin to bring down the fever. When we got back to the car, he passed out. I ran back into the vet’s office with him and they immediately grabbed him from me and took him to the back. When we got back to the room, they were putting cold towels on him to try and bring down the fever. He was also receiving oxygen. I completely broke down because I didn’t think he would make it. They kept him on IV’s and oxygen overnight. The next morning they called and said he had recovered and could go home. It turns out that he probably had an allergic reaction to the penicillin.
From that day on Homer was truly a member of our family. He and Dusty were very close, but he also bonded with the others. In the summer of 2001, Reno (an American Eskimo) came to live with us. For some reason Homer didn’t think too much of Reno. He never tried to attack him, but he would walk behind him and growl. He was trying to get Reno’s attention, but Reno just ignored him. It was actually comical because Reno was that much bigger than Homer was and probably thought of him as a real pest.
On December 18, 2001, I came home from work and gave all the dogs their supper. They went out to the backyard after dinner like they did every night. Because at that time of year it would get dark early, they were only allowed to stay out for about 15 minutes. I went to call them in but Homer didn’t come in with the rest of them. John went to the yard to look for him and found Homer unconscious. We tried CPR and “mouth-to-nose” but we just couldn’t revive him. The vet was called, but my Homer was already on his way to the Bridge. The diagnosis was that Homer had suffered a heart attack that took him very quickly and without warning.
It all happened so suddenly and left me in shock for a few days afterward. I just couldn’t believe he was gone. There was no warning — no chance to say goodbye. Even though Homer started out as a stray, he became a very important part of my life because he chose me.
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