I love Old English sheepdogs. We’ve had five, so I know the breed well. Unfortunately, their life span is only 10 to 12 years. That’s how we’ve had so many. Our fifth OES will be five years old this week.

He came from Bugaboo Kennel in Colorado Springs, and he’s been Velcro companion ever since.

His name is Finnegan MacCool after the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill of Giant’s Causeway. You can read the legend here.


Finn’s our largest OES at 99.6 pounds, and the most loving. He’s always up for a cuddly nap with you.

Or sitting in your lap…wherever you sit.

Besides the unconditional love, Finn has taught me some important lessons.

Trust your instincts.

Finn senses if someone or some animal or some situation poses a threat. He has that inbred instinct to protect me. I trust him.

In life, we must trust our instincts too. Others’ opinions are important. But in the end, we should heed our gut instincts.

Know what you want and be super persistent about securing it.

Finn normally settles under the table at mealtime unless he’s smelled fried eggs or pizza. Then he nudges my thigh throughout the meal reminding me he’s waiting.

The scenario reminds me how important dogged persistence can be. We should not give up on our goals even if there are setbacks or defeats.

Poor Finn doesn’t always get to lick the fried egg plates. Sometimes we have visitors and seeing a dog lick a human plate tends to freak some people out. That’s why there’s a Sani-wash option on the dishwasher. But when he smells pizza baking or eggs frying you’ll always find him nudging my leg not under laying under the table. He doesn’t give up.

Even if we fail, persistence helps us learn what to do better next time or what techniques or approaches work, and what don’t.

Go outside and play.

I tend to spend hours on my laptop. In our technology world, it’s easy to be online and working 24-7. For Finn, it’s boring. After a while, he will drop that big old head in my lap or nudge my elbow with that bigh black nose to get my attention until I push away from the computer, iPad, or iPhone.

I never regret spending time with him. When I return to my task, I’m refreshed, and it’s not imagined. Research suggests exercise can improve our productivity.

What lessons have you learned from your pet?