Brian Hamilton: ‘It’s Homer’s house; my parents just pay the bills’ – Meet western Nevada County’s most-spoiled pet (VIDEO) | TheUnion.com
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Brian Hamilton: ‘It’s Homer’s house; my parents just pay the bills’ – Meet western Nevada County’s most-spoiled pet (VIDEO)

They had to be grandparents. That explains everything.

Homer won the lottery when he made himself at home with his second owners, Jack and Katherine Federmeyer. So much so, last month voters at TheUnion.com gave him the title of western Nevada County’s “Most Spoiled Pet.”

But the 14-year-old Australian Shepherd was no stranger to the Federmeyers when he first came home with the couple. In fact, Homer’s second home had been his second home of sorts since birth, as Jack and Katherine “adopted” the pup from their son.

So what else would you expect but an absolutely spoiled-rotten pup living at Grandpa and Grandma’s?

“I think everybody teases us because they think we’re weird with our dog.” — Katherine Federmeyer

“I wouldn’t say he’s spoiled,” Katherine said. “I’d say he’s the most-loved. We love him just like he’s our little grand baby. He really is the sweetest.”

Sweet or spoiled … or both … Homer clearly stood out to the voters among the 65 pets entered in the contest, a roster that included dogs and cats, as well as Harley, a macaw parrot, and Gigi the goose, apparently a local celebrity of sorts. The families of each of the furry and feathered friends made their case as being the community’s most spoiled with a photo and a short letter, some apparently written by the animal itself.

Who knew?

“My typical day includes morning cuddles and kisses with my grandma. I then accompany my grandpa to work; I watch him work while waiting in his heated truck. It’s too cold out there for dogs!” Homer, allegedly, wrote. “I’m carefully placed in the car to go everywhere with my grandparents. In fact, if dogs aren’t allowed, we simply don’t go. They won’t even take vacations without me! I’ve got these humans wrapped around my paw. My name is Homer Federmeyer and I love my life of luxury! WOOF!”

Homer had some help from his “sister,” Lindsay — who, fortunately for him, has opposable thumbs — in submitting his entry. She said she did so as a joke, something she and her brother, Homer’s former owner, pull often while poking fun at Jack and Katherine over their royal treatment of the pup. They presented their parents with a 2013 calendar of Homer photos for Christmas, but Katherine — who still has the gift — considers it much more a treasure than a joke.

“I think everybody teases us because they think we’re weird with our dog,” she said.

Ya think?

Homer, of course, has two beds — one in the bedroom and another in the great room — and though his grandparents deny their daughter’s accusation that he’s a 65-pound lapdog, they did admit, “He cuddles.” He’s got a basket full of toys, “at least 30,” including the squeaky variety. And, being an avid swimmer, that doesn’t include his water toys on the boat.

“In the summer,” Katherine said, “sometimes we take the boat out just so he can play in the water.”

Homer is no home body. He’s no latch-key kid, either. He accompanies Jack to work so often that clients often greet him with “Where’s Homer?”

Grandpa Jack apparently is every bit as guilty as Grandma when it comes to treating Homer, sometimes dropping by the Golden Arches for a Happy Meal. But shh… that’s a secret between the fellas, though for the record he prefers the burger over nuggets, and hold the fries — and pickles.

“I do it like maybe … once a month,” Jack said. “He’s pretty much just a kibble dog. We don’t give him a lot of people food, so it’s kind of a treat for him.”

The treats don’t end there, though. Homer enjoys his treats from Scraps Dog Bakery, “the place where we get his birthday cake,” Katherine said, as well as doggie ice cream. For his 14th birthday next month, he’ll no doubt expect a return visit to Lazy Dog ice cream after last year’s treat.

“When we travel we go to dog friendly hotels,” Jack said. “He goes wherever we go.”

“And we know every restaurant in town that allows dogs,” Katherine said.

“And,” Lindsay added, “we can only go to those.”

Homer was adopted by the couple years ago when their son accepted a job in the city and was preparing to move into an apartment. Soon thereafter he no longer was being “baby-sat” at Grandpa and Grandma’s house, but had become a full-time resident.

“Jack and I said, ‘You can’t do that to him,’” Katherine said. “So, he became our dog because I said my son wasn’t fit to be a parent at that time. … He’s now a dad. He’s a good dad!”

Today Jack and Katherine are also spoiling their grandchildren of the human kind.

Lindsay, whose own toddlers also now have Grandpa and Grandma beaming with pride, and who suddenly found herself playing the role of Homer’s media relations agent, said she entered him in the contest as just another joke at her parents’ expense. But she, and other family and friends of the Federmeyers, fully understand why Homer now has the title of western Nevada County Most-Spoiled Pet.

“It’s Homer’s house,” she said. “My parents just pay the bills.”

See this story at TheUnion.com for photos and stories of other nominees, as well as a video interview with the Federmeyer family.

Contact Editor Brian Hamilton at bhamilton@theunion.com or 530-477-4249.


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