Jonathan Knight and his husband Harley Rodriguez have expanded their farmhouse family. On February 25, 2023, the HGTV host revealed on social media that he and Rodriguez adopted a rescue puppy named Oliver to join them — and their goats, horses, and ducks — at their sprawling Massachusetts farm.
The news was a surprise to fans who know that Knight, who’s a huge animal lover, has been reluctant to take in a new dog, in part because he takes the loss of his pets so hard. Longtime fans of his band, New Kids on the Block, still recall his devotion to his Shar-pei pup, Nikko, who would travel the world with him. At the height of their success, in 1991, the Daily Press reported that Nikko had his own bunk bed on the band’s tour bus. In 2021, Knight shared on Instagram that one of his prized possessions is a ceramic statue of Nikko that a fan gave to him.
Losing beloved pets he’s loved has been tough for Knight. Exactly one year to the day before sharing Oliver with the world, Knight posted a photo of himself snuggling his neighbor’s dog, writing, “I’ve lost dogs I’ve loved and still afraid to fall in love with another dog again.”
Several months later, in June 2022, Knight mourned the loss of his beloved rooster, Stella, on Instagram, expressing his sadness over not being with her when she died.
“You will always have a special place in my heart,” he wrote. “Thank you for giving your two Dads so many years of joy. I’m gonna miss our car rides, our trips to the garden where I always found you the best worms, and most importantly the way you let us cuddle you and the way you cuddled us back. I feel tremendous guilt Not being with you in your final hour, but comfort knowing that your Dad Harley was by your side. We both love you so much. Sleep well our sweet baby.”
Jonathan Knight & Husband Introduce Puppy in Joint Post
Knight and Rodriguez shared a joint Instagram post announcing their newest family member, with a photo of Oliver sweetly sitting by their front door as snow fell around him. On Rodriguez’s version of the post, he added a series of adorable photos and videos of Oliver adjusting to his new home, including snuggling with Knight and checking out the ducks’ pond. He also informed someone in the comment section that Oliver is three months old.
The couple wrote, “Welcome to your forever loving home, Oliver! Thank you @sweetpawsrescue for bringing us together and for all the wonderful work you do with animals!”
Sweet Paws Rescue is a foster-based and “volunteer-powered” organization in Massachusetts that has rescued nearly 18,000 dogs and cats, according to its website.
Fans and friends swooned over the photos on both men’s posts. For instance, fellow HGTV host and Knight’s good friend Jenny Marrs wrote, “SOOOOOO CUTE!!!”
NSync’s Lance Bass posted three raise-the-roof emojis, while Knight’s bandmate Joey McIntyre wrote, “Ollie!!!” Meanwhile, 90s pop star Debbie Gibson commented, “Ohhhh congrats to all!”
When New Kids’ official photographer Paris Visone wrote that she can’t wait to “play with Ollie,” Knight replied, “He’s the best. He even sleeps in like his Dad … Come visit!” and added a laughing emoji.
Minnesota’s Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, who wrote last year on Instagram that she’s “unabashedly a #blockhead for life,” commented on the post, writing, “Oliver!” and adding a heart-eyed emoji.
Non-famous fans were thrilled by news of Knight’s new adoptee, too, with many thanking him and Rodriguez for rescuing a puppy in need of a family. But one discovered Knight does have limits when it comes to sheltering animals.
The person wrote, “OMG!!! I love him!! Next up, a cat!!” and Knight posted a laughing emoji and simply wrote, “as if!!!!”
Oliver Will Have Lots of Other Animals to Meet on Jonathan Knight’s Farm
Oliver is joining lots of other well-loved animals on the farm owned and run by Knight and Rodriguez, who often tends to the animals when Knight is away touring with New Kids or filming HGTV’s “Farmhouse Fixer.”
The couple frequently shares videos and photos of their goats, horses, ducks, and chickens — and Knight is often seen snuggling up to all of them. In early September, Knight took to Instagram to share that his favorite duck, Suki, had been attacked by a hawk. But caring for all of their animals when he’s home comes naturally to Knight because he grew up with lots of farm animals.
In 2019, he told the Boston Herald, “When (my family and I) lived in Dorchester, we had three-quarters of an acre. We had sheep, a couple of goats, a pony, two pigs, some pigeons and roosters.”
In a video HGTV produced in September 2022, Knight gave a tour of his farm and introduced all of his animals, from a rebellious duck named Mad Max to a koi fish that’s over 30 years old.