MANSFIELD -- Homer, a 5-year-old French mastiff, was honored Saturday as the Coolest Dog in Richland County.
That meant the calm, 175-pound pooch had far too much aplomb to select a tennis ball out of a wading pool to pick another lucky canine as the winner of a free year of pet insurance sponsored by Eric Parr and the Parr Insurance Co.
GALLERY: Kiwanis Club of Mansfield Coolest Dog of Richland County event
Photos from the Kiwanis Club of Mansfield Coolest Dog in Richland County event today at the Phoenix Brewing Company. The contest raised $13,541 and helped to purchase a new mini-bus for the Friendly House in Mansfield. The winning dog was Homer, a French mastiff owned by Jeff and Jennis Morris of Lexington.
That was absolutely the only thing Homer didn't get right on Saturday at the Phoenix Brewing Company as the Kiwanis Club of Mansfield brought its Coolest Dog of Richland County to a four-legged conclusion.
The contest, a fundraiser that featured online voting for 134 participants, generated $13,541 and allowed the Kiwanis Club, along with donations from Warren Rupp, Inc., the IDEX Foundation and others to purchase a new mini-bus for the Friendly House of Mansfield.
Friendly House by Director Terry Conard brought the new mini-bus to the event, a vehicle that features the images of the Top 10 canine vote-getters on the rear.
“In celebration of the upcoming 100th birthday of our club, we are so excited to be able to impact The Friendly House in such a positive manner,” said Jessica Dulle, campaign chairman.
Homer's owners, Jeff and Jenny Morris of Lexington, earned a check for $300 for the victory, which they immediately donated back to the mini-bus effort for the Friendly House.
Homer was joined by lots of other dogs and their owners in the Phoenix courtyard for an event that included proclamations from State Rep. Mark Romanchuk, Richland County Commissioner Darrell Banks and Mansfield Mayor Tim Theaker.
As the event proceeded, and the expected rain held off, Homer took it all in with practiced ease. The Phoenix unveiled a new beer in his honor, "Homer's Big Head Odyssey," an American red ale prepared by co-owner and brewmaster Duncan McFarlane.
His calmness may be attributed to the fact Homer has already appeared on a Canadian wine bottle at Niagara-On-The-Lake in Ontario, where his owners also own a home.
"He graces four bottles up there," said Morris, who loves the Dogue de Bordeaux breed and has owned them since 1993. Homer has a 4-year-old brother at home, Mr. Higgins.
When Homer isn't winning contests or being featured on beer and wine, he lives a dog's life.
"He kinda sits around the house. He likes to roam around the property, throw toys in the air and bark at stuff," Morris said.
A French mastiff was featured in the 1989 comedy film, "Turner & Hooch," starring Tom Hanks.
Morris said the French mastiff is known as the best rare breed to be around children. Homer certainly demonstrated that Saturday, patiently accepting pets and strokes from strangers and posing for many photos.
He also stood proudly as he received a stunning, new leather collar from Jodie Snavely of Dazzle Hound Collars. She had gotten his measurements in advance and the collar fit perfectly.
Just as the title of Coolest Dog of Richland County fit him on Saturday.