BLACKSBURG, Va. – Homer loves walking to school with his family.
"I walk them to school in the morning sometimes, so he knows the way," said Homer's owner, Erin Ling. "And he loves the kids more than anything."
But when Ling came home one day last week, the 2-year-old beagle, who had been left outside to enjoy the weather, was missing.
"He is an escape artist sometimes but usually he goes and hangs out with the neighbor and she calls me," Ling said.
The call didn't come, so Ling searched.
"I took a lap around the neighborhood and couldn't find him so I was starting to get more and more worried," she said.
Her phone finally rang, but it was the children's school.
"Oh, no," she thought. "One of the kids is sick and the dog is missing."
Neither Holden nor Isla was sick, but Isla had stumble across something on the playground as school let out.
"I saw a bunch of kids surrounding a dog. And I walked over," the 10-year-old said.
To her surprise, it was her beloved beagle.
"I went up to see what was going on and I realized it was Homer. I was scared because I thought all the other dogs had gotten loose too. That they all had separated."
The Lings two other dogs were safe at home.
The family doesn't like to think about how Homer made it to the school.
"I don't think he thought about it either. I think he was probably just on autopilot," Ling said.
It might be better that way, considering Homer walked a mile and a half, and crossed busy South Main Street along the way.
"He just came up to me, wagging (at) me and wagging (at) Holden," Isla said.
"I thought that it was amazing," Isla said. "We walked him inside and we waited for Mom to come and pick us up."
Ling did, and took them all home, where Homer will have to stay, inside, even on nice days, to prevent another escape.