Dr. Eugene McNally has been practicing medicine on the Coast for many years. He has a unique distinction among South Mississippi physicians in that he has always brought his “ best friend” to the office with him. This story begins with a beautiful male Golden Retriever named Finn. This gentle, loving animal remained at the good doctor’s side, until his death last year at the age of eleven. This is a celebration of Finn’s life, that will most certainly make you smile.
At 10 weeks of age this little yellow fur ball went home with Dr. McNally. There was an immediate bond between the two. Dr. McNally purchased Finn with the intent of taking him to work with him each day. Goldens are known for their easy going nature and ability to connect with people. Finn displayed every desirable trait that the doctor was looking for, and they quickly became the best of friends. “I let him know what my expectations were, and he never let me down. He was the master of the house. Finn loved to go to work each day, and would never miss an opportunity to jump in the front seat of my truck and go wherever I went,” Dr. McNally said.
Throughout the years that followed, Finn never missed a day at the office. He quietly roamed through the halls and was an ever present source of joy and delight for the patients. Finn’s interaction with them all, young and old was extraordinary. The dog had such a sweet disposition, coupled with the most expressive face and eyes. Finn always seemed to know when someone needed a little extra TLC. He was very intuitive; always ready to offer an engaging glance or a nuzzle. He made it a point to “visit” with the patients, one by one as they waited to see the doctor. No one could resist petting his silky coat or patting his head. After Finn made his “rounds,” he would saunter down the hall, poking his nose into the many examination rooms, looking for his his favorite person, non other than Dr. McNally. Once Finn was assured that he was there, he would be content to lay on the floor and rest awhile until there were more patients to see. “This remarkable animal gave so much happiness to so many people, and he got back what he gave. He was like a little brother to me, who developed into my grandfather, and he gave the very best he had until the end of his life,” Dr. McNally said.
Finn’s favorite pastime was always to go to the office each day and enjoy the company of everyone in the waiting room. A huge toy box filled with all kinds of stuffed animals and chew toys was available to him around the clock. He much preferred a game of tug-of-war with a piece of rope, to all the fancy goodies in the toy box. Weather permitting, Finn also had the option of going outside to lie in the sun. A back door lead to a small private fenced in yard, just for him. Daily walks through the neighborhood were scheduled morning, noon and just before he and Dr. McNally left at the end of the day. Children attending a near by elementary school felt as if they had grown up with the dog. They saw Finn walk by the school yard, day after day for all those years, watching as he matured from an adorable puppy into a handsome, full grown adult.
Finn was loved by all that knew him, and he had a very happy and full life. He is greatly missed but Dr. McNally is consoled by the many wonderful memories he has of his friend. A joyful portrait of a Golden hangs in the waiting room that epitomizes Finn’s spirit, and patients never fail to talk about him.
Five months after Finn’s death, Dr. McNally was ready and anxious to get another dog. He found a new canine companion after much research and very careful consideration. He knew exactly what he wanted, and was quite taken with a European breed called the Hovawart, which means “guardian of the estate.” They are known for their confidence, loyalty, faithfulness and devotion, and grow to be very large. Meet Bronski! The 10 week old puppy was flown to the United States directly from the breeders in Germany, via New York City. Dr. McNalley flew to New York to meet the plane, in order to pick up the dog and then drove back to the Coast. Bronski is one of the very few blond Hovawarts in the United States. There are only a few hundred of the breed in all of America, and most are black or a combination of black and blond.
Today, Bronski is growing in leaps and bounds, and enjoying a very pampered and comfy life. He goes into the office everyday, like his predecessor before him. This gentle giant is extremely affectionate and joyfully doles out kisses to everyone he meets, and he and the doctor have become inseparable. “I feel like having the dog with me each day, sort of expands the black medicine bag where if someone can come in here and feel disarmed when they have to talk, or they realize that there is more of a family atmosphere here than just coming in and leaving..I think it augments the healing process and enhances the visit”, he said.