ALEXANDRIA — The community lost one of its well-known citizens when Homer the wandering dog died early this month.
According to Chris Cangany, office manager at Loyal & True Pet Cremation Services, Homer had been a familiar figure around Alexandria for years.
“He had been wandering the streets of Alexandria since he was just a puppy — about four months old,” Cangany said. “We have had a number of wonderful comments about this sweet boy that everyone in Alexandria seemed to know.”
Shannon Clark, a resident of Alexandria and member of the Ambassadors for God’s Creatures group, was among those who came to feel an emotional attachment to the scruffy-looking brown mutt.
“I didn’t even know Homer existed until a few months ago,” she said. “But he had been running the town as the town dog for six and a half years, and I got to know him by trying to catch him for months.”
Clark hoped to find Homer a permanent home. He was wandering from house to house, sleeping under cars and in garages.
“We just couldn’t understand why he was just allowed to roam all these years with no vet care,” she said. “Everybody assumed he belonged to somebody, and he never did. He had been roaming Alexandria since he was a puppy.”
Although he had no family to call his own, the community of Alexandria ensured that Homer was well-fed.
“He had a good thing going; don’t get me wrong,” Clark said. “He got lots of treats. He was fed very well, but he never received veterinary care.”
On Oct. 31, Clark got a call that Homer was spotted at a house in Alexandria, and that he was ill.
“When I got to the house, my heart just broke,” she said. “He was a mess.”
After months of pursuit, Clark had finally caught up to Homer.
“Homer had never, ever let us get that close to him,” she said. “So I think Homer knew it was time. He never whimpered, he never growled, he never barked. He just slept the sleep of the safe.”
The next day, Clark took Homer to the Alexandria Veterinary Clinic for an evaluation. Because of his declining physical condition and an infection that had spread through his body, the decision was made to euthanize Homer.
“We had to make that really hard decision to help him cross the Rainbow Bridge,” she said. “We made that decision because we felt that was the best thing for Homer. We shed a lot of tears trying to make that decision.”
Clark hopes that Homer’s death won’t be in vain.
“We would like the town to put a little memorial stone up for Homer,” she said. “I don’t think people realized he really didn’t have a home. He just wandered for all that time.
“When people see animals out all the time and they don’t appear to go home ... nine times out of ten, they don’t.”