Feature Furry Friends: 624 days at the shelter, Williamsburg dog looking for a forever home

Jerome the homeless dog is looking for someone special to call his family. Today marks his 624th day at the Heritage Humane Society. The six-year-old mixed-breed dog is the National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month poster child for October.

Orphan by divorce

Jerome was originally entrusted to the Heritage Humane Society on November 25, 2020, as a surrender due to divorce. After a long stay of four months, he thought he had found his forever home on March 26, 2021. Unfortunately, Jérôme was handed over to the shelter again on June 12, 2021 and has been there for over 16 months. His surrender in 2021 was the result of Jerome wanting more time with his new owner and when he was away for long periods, Jerome had separation anxiety fearing he would be abandoned again.

488 dogs and counting

Since the adorable and cuddly Jérôme is at the shelter, 488 other dogs have been adopted there. Each time Jérôme wonders if the next adopter will be his match.

“Often times people interested in adopting a dog, cat or one of our small pets expect to come to the Heritage Humane Society and their perfect match will immediately jump into their lap, give lots of licks, will deliver on purring power, or a wagging tail.While we have those wonderful times, we also have plenty of pets like Jerome who share the same traits as many humans, they just need a little bit of time to observe and warm up to new people and new situations instead of being the life of the party,” says Kimberly Laska, executive director of the Heritage Humane Society.

The love of fellow humans Fido Field Trip

Heritage Humane Society volunteers Janet and Mike Zikes have long taken Jerome on Fido excursions at least once a week. Fido Field Trips gives Jerome and other shelter puppies like him a break from the kennel.

“We love Jerome!” Janet shared in a recent email which then shared, “Jerome loves his Fido field trips. No matter where we go, he’s happy to be with us and he’s thrilled to enjoy all the sights and smells. He’s an easy walker, but he likes to sniff every tree he sees. He is so busy sniffing that he hardly notices other dogs and passers-by. He is a good walker and when you are ready for a break he will sit on the bench with you.

Jérôme takes the time to establish a relationship of trust with people. When he does, his enormous heart opens wide. The Zikes and other shelter volunteers and care team staff share that Jerome is very intelligent, playful and active, so he needs someone who will continue to work with him and give him many opportunities to do exercise and play. Older children are recommended as he really likes toys – and treats, says Jerome, don’t forget to bring lots of treats.

Janet and Mike Zikes on Fido Field Trips with Jerome

Shelter Volunteer Amanda Ibrahim shares, “Love Jerome! Walking into his room and seeing him light up makes my day! He’s so excited as he runs from toy to toy showing me his current favorites. This boy is a real gem and if you are lucky enough to be the recipient of his joy and love, there is no better feeling! He loves long walks, belly rubs, peanut butter filled Kongs, old toys, new toys, all kinds of toys, and most of all he would love to meet you! Currently I have taken him to level one dog training classes where he has become a star student. He learns fast and is overall an amazing dog!

Training courses and workshops

Adam Claar is a dog training instructor at the Heritage Humane Society. He is a Certified Canine Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge and Skills Assessment, and Canine Good Citizen, STAR Puppy and Trick Dog Evaluator for the American Kennel Club.

Claar has worked with Jerome and shares, “He’s always been a training class superstar and he seems very proud of his flip trick.”

As Jerome continues to learn, Claar can also provide his new human companion(s) with tips to help him relax more and not have separation anxiety when apart. This way, Jerome will not be anxious and will learn to trust that his human companion does not abandon him.

Jerome is on the right track to continue to thrive. He could continue to benefit from the shelter’s Adult Level 2, Trick Training and AKC Good Citizen classes. A variety of dog training classes are located at the Heritage Humane Society.

Sponsored adoption fees

The Greater Williamsburg community is pushing for Jerome to stop being homeless and find his forever home. Her adoption costs are fully sponsored by the Drive Safe Hampton Roads Christopher King Foundation. With its adoption costs covered, the Heritage Humane Society also makes it easy to purchase items for Jerome’s new home with its retail store located in the lobby of the shelter.

Jerome is available to meet during normal adoption hours, 12-4:30 p.m., seven days a week.

To learn more, visit HeritageHumane.org or call 757-221-0150.


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