Everyone knows that dogs occasionally bark: sometimes at the postman; other times seemingly at absolutely nothing. Nevertheless, it would be very unusual if you were at home, heard a dog barking and then saw it waiting right outside your front door.
The Termolen family were in this very situation – and a strange dog would often appear on their porch. The Termolens were no strangers to canines, mind you, and already had their own adopted dog, called Tommy, who would be indoors during these peculiar visits. Tommy was gorgeous, with black fur all over and a white patch on his chest.
When looking for a dog, the Termolens were initially planning to rescue a female. As a result, they arranged to meet up with some dogs from a shelter in a bid to find the perfect fit. But as they waited for the animals’ foster parents to bring them in, they changed their minds.
They say that a dog chooses you at a shelter, and that was certainly the case here. A member of staff told the family that they could meet another animal while they were waiting, and she then brought out Tommy. At which point, there was an instant connection between him and the Termolens.
Jenna Termolen and her sons still went on to meet the other dogs, though. After all, those dogs had come all the way from their foster homes. And while all the animals were sweethearts, the family couldn’t help but pick Tommy. They all knew that he was the one.
“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 subsequently told The Dodo. “He had chosen his new family and was not willing to give us up.”
So Tommy joined their family, and life was great. They lived in Illinois up until 2015, in a dog-friendly neighborhood where Tommy had plenty of other furry friends. But then they upped sticks to upstate New York, and his social life dwindled for a time.
A week into their new lives in New York, Jenna’s youngest son sent her a text message while she was at work. He informed her that a big, tailless dog had somehow made its way inside the house, so she rang him straight away to find out what was going on.
“I immediately called him to see if everything was okay,” Jenna recalled. “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.”
When Jenna returned home, she wondered who the dog belonged to and how he had got in. Under his shaggy fur, she then found a dog collar with a name on it. He was called Jackson, and he lived four blocks away. So, they walked Jackson home to be reunited with his family.
Jackson’s family felt a little sheepish about the whole situation, but they said they weren’t taken aback by the fact that he’d been on the hunt for playmates. And as Jenna and her son headed back home, they still had no idea that Jackson would become Tommy’s new best friend.
The next time Jackson returned, they walked him home again. And this pattern continued for quite some time until they gave up. After all, Jackson knew the way all by himself. It became a habit of his, in fact, and he started to visit Tommy every day, often waiting at the door and barking.
If no one opened the front door and the garage was ajar, then he would simply let himself in there. And if it wasn’t, then he would find other ways to locate his favorite playmate. So it was that the Termolen family eventually grew accustomed to Jackson’s company and are now no longer surprised by his presence.
“Usually when he comes for a visit, he stops by the front door first and gives one or two polite barks,” Jenna explained. “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.”
Today, Tommy is 16 years old, whereas Jackson is only five. Yet while this age gap doesn’t seem to be an issue, it is harder for Tommy to play now, so they go on walks together instead – and Jackson is more than happy to mellow out for his older buddy.
“Now it is more like a wellness check, as Tommy is really starting to show his age,” Jenna said. “Jackson comes in, has a drink, checks to see if Tommy has leftover food, [and] they follow each other around the house and basically just hang out for a bit.”
Tommy has had health complications for a year or so, though, so it’s remarkable that he’s made it this far. Indeed, even his own vet is surprised. But despite his ailments, Tommy has remained the same happy dog that he’s always been.
Jenna is nonetheless worried about what Tommy’s old age will mean for Jackson. “They have a nice, sweet friendship,” she explained. “It will be heartbreaking when it is over. I am not sure I will be able to maintain composure when Jackson visits and Tommy is no longer here to greet him.”
“He whines at the street hoping his buddy will make an appearance,” she continued. “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.”
It is truly a friendship for the ages, and we hope that it continues for some time. Jenna is so grateful that little Tommy has Jackson to light up the last years of his life. Until the sad day of his passing, then, the two will carry on being best buddies who hang out, go on walks and simply enjoy each other’s company.