dog rescue, Dogs with Issues, Flannery Oconnor, fosterdogs, fostering, hard to adopt, Long Term Dog, oph, returned dogs, training

A Designer Dog Looking for his Designer Family

There was a time when we had two, even three new fosters each month, but for the last few years, it’s been one long-term foster after another (Gala, Flannery, Daisy…) and a few puppy litters. This weekend we had planned to welcome a much anticipated foster dog from Alabama – Houdini, whom I met while visiting Walker County Animal Shelter where OPH partners with RUFF to support the shelter and rescue dogs.

That reunion has been postponed because transport for Houdini and the other RUFF dogs fell through at the last moment. Hopefully, he will catch his freedom ride at the end of this month and we’ll welcome him then.

Meanwhile, Fanny was in need of a playmate as Flannery and Gracie easily tire of her endless puppy-like energy, so I volunteered to foster a little dog who was recently returned.

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Tommy Hilfiger was billed as super high-energy and mouthy, still really a puppy who needed a home with a playmate and a strong routine to help him settle. He was currently cooling his heels in a boarding facility two hours from me, but my OPH family helped get him to me. (If you’re ever looking for a volunteer opportunity that involves dogs but doesn’t involve actually fostering dogs, OPH is always looking for more boarding and transport buddies, apply here.)

Nancy and Matt Slattery met Stephanie, another OPH foster/volunteer for the handoff on Sunday and I picked up Tommy H from them later that day. Here are a few pictures Nancy snapped in their afternoon of babysitting Tommy H:

True to the report, he was very mouthy, but as he’s basically still a puppy, he’s pretty easy to redirect. When he went for my ankles upon introduction, I firmly (but gently) shoved him away. That was the last time he went for my ankles. Ankles are an obvious target for this little guy.

Thankfully, his bite is a puppy-play bite, but his nearly adult teeth still pinch. As we interacted more, and he got mouthy again, I just shoved a toy in his mouth and left him alone in his pen. What he wants most is human contact, so when biting resulted in isolation, he quickly got with the program. It only took a few of these interactions and now, at least around me, he is keeping his chompers to himself.

At nine months and only twenty pounds, he is a little intimidated by Fanny’s size and enthusiasm, so for now he only gets brief supervised interaction with her. She loves him, maybe a little too much, but hopefully we’ll find a happy medium where she gets to play but he doesn’t get squashed.

Tommy has been an excellent guest; he’s not terribly noisy and he is excellent on the leash. Yesterday he spotted the horses and now he’s determined to show them who is boss, so we have to walk on the side of the house where he can’t see them or its impossible for him to concentrate on the business at hand.

Ian loves this little furball. Tommy H is cuddly and affectionate and very friendly. As Ian observed, “He’ll be a great football dog.” He’s not talking about his size (which is very football like), he’s talking about his ability to snuggle while watching football on the couch near the woodstove.


If I had to guess, I’d say that Tommy is a corgi crossed with a Jack Russell. Those are the two breeds that jump out at me, but really there’s no way of knowing since he isn’t talking, and more importantly, it doesn’t really matter. What we have here is an adorable, cow-colored, high-energy, happy pup who is looking for a forever home where he, preferably, has a buddy to play with and where his family will be confident enough to redirect his mouthiness and instill a little training in this very agreeable guy. I have no doubt, he will be an awesome dog for some lucky family, but like with any new dog, especially puppies, you’ll need to put the work in.

I don’t want to jinx anything, but…..Flannery has a meet and greet scheduled today! As most readers of this blog know, Flannery is one amazing and special girl who will need an amazing and special adopter. She’s been returned twice because of a bad fit, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a great dog. She just needs the right family for her. Fingers and paws crossed everyone!


Meanwhile, she continues to excel at agility. Here’s a video from hopefully our last class together….

Thanks for reading!



If you’d like regular updates of Flannery and all my foster dogs past and present, but sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.

For me information on me, my writing, and my upcoming book, One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One  Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues, visit

And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit

Our family fosters through the all-breed rescue, Operation Paws for Homes, a network of foster homes in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and south-central PA.

Another Good Dog coverCheck out my latest release from Pegasus Books and available anywhere books are sold: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs.

I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at

Together we rescue!



7 thoughts on “A Designer Dog Looking for his Designer Family”

    1. I think you’d really like Flannery’s adopter. Good dog guy. He was enamored by Flannery, especially her stellar brain. When we talked about her nipping, he understood that this was her communicating. I’m sure Tommy will be gone in a flash – small and adorable as he is, even though he also is a bit of a land shark.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nipping is just some breeds’ style. Teddy is a nipper but he’s learned it’s OK to nip Bear and not to nip me. He has carried that behavior into not nipping people, but I think he would nip a kid if the kid were running around with him.

        I’m so happy Flannery found a person. I hope it lasts and they’re very happy together.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m sure Tommy will find his forever family soon. Let us know how the meet and greet goes with Flannery. Hopefully it’ll be a step towards finding her forever family. Any update on Daisy?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Meet and greet went well. Fingers crossed. The adoption is a 30-day trial, so no letting out of breath for another month. Seems like a great home, though. Hopefully Flannery doesn’t spend too much time wondering where we are and gives him her full attention. Daisy is doing well, much the same though. She’ll be here for a visit at the end of the month, so I’m sure I’ll have more to say about her then!


      1. Yes, let us know how Daisy’s visit goes. I enjoyed reading about her progress on your blog. Hopefully Flannery’s adoption will pan out. Keep doing your part for man’s best friend.


  2. Fingers crossed for Flannery! I’m betting Tommy H. will soon be Fanny’s match (unless he finds a home before than). Kudos for fostering and gently education the baby [land] shark. p.s. Nancy’s photos are great!


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