Tommy’s family adopted him from a shelter when he was around a year old. Initially, the family had been looking for a girl dog and had set up meetings with a few potential matches. While they waited for those dogs to arrive from their foster homes, one of the staff members asked if the family would like to meet Tommy in the meantime. It was love at first sight — for both the family and for Tommy.
“When it came time for him to go back out, he laid down on the floor trying his best not to leave us; she had to literally drag/slide him on his belly out of the room,” Jenna Termolen, Tommy’s mom, told The Dodo. “He had chosen his new family and was not willing to give us up. After meeting the other dogs, the boys all decided that he was the one.”
For most of his life, Tommy lived with his family in Illinois, until 2015, when they moved to a neighborhood in upstate New York. Tommy had a lot of dog friends back in his old neighborhood, and seemed to be missing them after the move — until he met Jackson.
About a week after the family moved into their new home, Termolen was out running errands when she got a text from her youngest son saying that a very large, very shaggy dog with no tail had suddenly appeared inside their house.
“I immediately called him to see if everything was OK,” Termolen said. “He relayed that Tommy and the dog were getting along just fine; the dog seemed friendly, and Tommy was taking him on a tour of the house.”
After finally locating the dog’s collar under all his fur, they discovered that his name was Jackson, and he lived right down the street. Termolen and her son walked Jackson home, and while his family was embarrassed that he had somehow found his way into someone’s home, they were not at all surprised that he was out and about trying to make friends. Termolen and her son said goodbye to Jackson and headed home — and soon realized that Jackson’s visit that day had certainly not been his last.
Now, Jackson comes over to visit Tommy almost every day. The first few times, Termolen and her family walked Jackson back home, but have since realized that he totally knows the way on his own. If the family’s garage door is open, then Jackson just lets himself into the house, and no one in the family is ever surprised to see him anymore.
“Usually when he comes for a visit, he stops by the front door first and gives one or two polite barks,” Termolen said. “If no one answers the front door, he will either try to go through the garage if it is open or go around through the backyard to the back deck, and will give barks at each door. I usually just let him in the house or let Tommy out.”
While Jackson is around 5 years old, Tommy is now 16 — but despite the age difference, the pair are still the best of friends. When Tommy was a bit younger and healthier, he and his best friend used to run and play in the yard all the time. Now, they just like to hang around the house or go on leisurely walks together. Even though he has a lot more energy than his aging friend, Jackson is always happy to slow down for Tommy.
“Now it is more like a wellness check as Tommy is really starting to show his age,” Termolen said. “Jackson comes in, has a drink, checks to see if Tommy has leftover food, they follow each other around the house and basically just hang out for a bit. They have a nice, sweet friendship. It will be heartbreaking when it is over. I am not sure I will able to maintain composure when Jackson visits and Tommy is no longer here to greet him.”
Tommy has been suffering from some health issues over the past year, and his vet is amazed that he’s still here. The sweet senior dog is still as happy as ever, though, and his family has taken to calling him Tommy Timex.
“He gives a licking and keeps on ticking,” Termolen said.
Even though his energy is limited these days, Tommy’s friendship with Jackson keeps him going, and he loves going on his daily walks just so he can check to see if Jackson is home and down to hang.
“He whines at the street hoping his buddy will make an appearance,” Termolen said. “When he does come out, Jackson usually accompanies us home. Maybe, since Tommy can’t always make it all the way down to Jackson’s house now, Jackson comes by to check in on Tommy.”