Jim Ellison, Food Fort Coordinator of the Economic and Community Development Institute and Tobias D. "Toby" Ellison, an Appalachian porch hound

Human: Jim Ellison, Food Fort Coordinator, Economic and Community Development Institute

Pet: Tobias D. "Toby" Ellison, 10; Appalachian porch hound

How did you find Toby? Toby was a rescue dog that bounced from foster home to foster home for close to two years. One of his stays was at the Chillicothe Correctional Institute where he was in a dog socialization program. I had him as a foster for close to six months and took him to every adoption event I could find. No one showed any interest in him. I wanted him to find a family with young kids that could absorb his energy. After his foster organization went out of operation, I traded vet appointment costs for his adoption fees and decided to continue on as his roommate.

How did you pick a name? He came with the name Toby. Due to questions about his pedigree, I refer to him as Tobias in some social situations.

Describe Toby's personality: Toby is a personality. His traits include: a strong will, extreme loyalty, a sense of humor, boundless energy, massive manipulative powers, extreme intelligence, a keen focus on food, and lack of awareness that he is not a human.

Any funny stories? Where to begin? The time he ate my donut research in the car. Watching him chase and catch flies. His anger at me speaking on the phone. His ability to "train" his grandmother to do things. We have invented a term called "slug dog," which involved his ability to stick his tongue into the throats of unsuspecting people (me) speaking on the phone. Toby "helping" me drive on a winding mountain road.

Would you say Toby is spoiled? Not really, but he does have very high standards about how he expects to be treated.

Does Toby ever get to eat people food? Tobias is a research assistant for my blog, CMH Gourmand. To say that he eats better than most people would be an accurate and easily quantified statement. He enjoys all dairy products with a focus on ice cream, cheese and Steak and Shake vanilla milkshakes. His favorite butcher is Thurn's. He prefers to eat local but has not yet found a good source of organic rabbit or squirrel.

What has your pet added to your family? Toby is the "head of household"/stay at home dog. For a large part, he is my family. He has been my constant companion and confidant for over eight years. We have been on countless epic adventures, including a two-and-a-half-week cross-country trip in the style of John Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley," which was documented on Twitter via @CMHTobias. I start and end my days with him and I appreciate his patience with my whirlwind work and social schedules.