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Houlihan is in rehab – Accepting Applications

Sponsored in loving memory of sweet Poppy Morning from her former foster family. Although her life was much too short she knew what it was to be loved and cherished with her forever Mom.

Houlihan’s foster mom here and I’m so excited that I finally get to tell you about Houli! She has passed through a few homes and, though many, many people really fall in love with her this special girl is searching for a very special home that will meet her needs and match her potential.

Teaser: Wait till you hear about her athleticism, drive, focus and all out “Go!”

Personality first! It’s easy to fall in love because; with HER people Houli is sweet, relaxed and very bonded. It takes time and perseverance, but once she gets to know you she turns on the charm and is an absolute ham! Houli adores her “foster grandpa” and loves to visit and go for walks with him.

Even my teeny cat likes Houli – Houli is quite respectful but really wants to play. And when my dopey, tiny cat ‘bops’ the dog on the nose Houli just waits or pokes the cat. But, every time Houli hears ‘leave it’ she does. And then the cat comes running back to continue the game…

Bonus, I hope you like the snooze button! Houli crawls in with me at the alarm for an extra snooze and snuggles. I’m sure she could be talked into an early morning outing, if you insist 🙂 Houli is super chill at home, unless she’s looking out the window! Houli reacts to passersby. We are working on it but her forever home will need to restrict access or block the view when not training. She has done great being left alone in the bedroom with a treat toy but is not crate trained and has some separation anxiety. Heading outside, Houli calmly puts on her coat or sweater and waits. This Southern Kentucky belle has a single coat, no undercoat but she doesn’t mind the fashion accessories.

Despite these lovely characteristics, Houli has some challenging reactivity behaviour. She’s an insecure dog and decided, probably early on, that the best way to deal with all the scary things in the world (dogs, bikes, people… ) was to bark and lunge and otherwise make herself as scary as possible. By now she’s had a lot of practice. And big barking is bad manners… who knew?

Houli has spent a lot of time these last months practicing a calmer way, learning to rely on her handler, and follow commands. While we are having some success, it is still early days. At the moment, Houli still reacts regularly; outside, at the window, and to the few regular visitors in the home. She is a very alert girl. Sometimes now she’s able to redirect (follow commands), sometimes she reacts and is able to stop herself enough to start following commands and lots of times she just can’t. And she’s really good at making herself look and sound scary. In the words of a dog-owning friend of mine, “I was pretty scared of Houli but she’s not scary, you know?” She’s just gonna try to make you think she is. For her own protection.

And here’s the AMAAAAZING part.

The best part about Houli is her focus and drive. When she focuses on something she is AWESOME! Like Jedi-mind trick AMAZING!! Like a guy watching the LEAFS play overtime in the final game of the Stanley Cup!!!? Yup, that kind of focus. Her trainer, myself, and another dog professional all said, “Wow” when they saw Houli hold a “look” for the first time. She holds “look” till you think she’s reading your mind! (Unfortunately, she has this kind of focus on watching for scary things and reacting to them…)

We call Houli Lab/Boxer – she definitely has that boxer jump and an athletic build– So Gorgeous! And we see Border Collie and Pointer too. Definitely would not be surprised to find she’s got working lines in her heritage.

She’s still going to be an excited goofball and give you the command she hopes you want instead of listening but she is really quick and sharp when she does it. I definitely sense she likes the movement more than the obedience part. (Houli: “Look? AGAIN?! Really, girl puleez” *eye roll) But she will fly to “place” from bed to dog bed and back a bunch of times. And she bounces like Tigger on command to “jump!”. It’s her FAVE command of all and she’ll do it from standing, sit or lying down! The trainer says she could be a fun trick dog too.

Houlihan has proven she can be an amazing dog in the right home but all that drive to work can get a girl in trouble too. To balance her out, Houli wants a very dog knowledgeable forever home that knows how to bring out her working and CALM side. All members of her family (and hopefully regular visitors too whenever that happens) will be dog confidant, know how to give her lots of direction, and advocate for her inside as well as out. There will be no walking with a full Timmies cup or checking your phone with this girl! Mindful, aware and working together is how she rolls.

Houli originally came into Save Me Rescue in 2019 and was adopted out, but surrendered back to the rescue 1 year later. In her time with me she has spent a lot of time building skills and learning to work together. . Transitioning everything she knows and building trust may take some time so applicants should live near the K-W area or enjoy (multiple) long drives. It’s important to note that Houli has not been introduced to other dogs or children in her current foster home. While she may do well with a confident, calm, and balanced dog in the home Houli’s forever home should not have children.

When Houlihan was first welcomed back into rescue, we took her to the veterinarian for a thorough check-up, to bring her up to date with vaccines, and to do a 4dx test. The test revealed Houlihan was positive for heartworm and she has been on treatment now for 6 months. It is a one-year course of advantage-multi given monthly. This is is known as the “slow kill” method and it is a much easier course of treatment for Houlihan to go through. Like everything else she does, Houli has rocked her heartworm treatment and tested negative at her 6 month test (ahead of schedule!). Finishing her treatment remains very important, she will need to remain on a monthly treatment for 6 more months. The rescue will cover the costs of the remainder of her treatment. If Houlihan’s adopter lives in reasonable proximity to one of the veterinarians that we work with we would ask that this be the clinic she sees for anything related to her heart worm diagnosis.

Houlihan’s heart sounds fine and she is otherwise a very healthy girl. We are grateful that she came back to us and that this was caught in its earlier stages. We expect her to go on to have the long, happy, and active life that she deserves. She remains restricted to on-leash exercise until July 1. After July 1 the vet said, “Let her be a dog!”. Running, Playing and other non-sense can resume!!!

For more information on Houlihan, please contact Jayne at

** Adoptions within the province of Ontario only