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by Pádraic Gilligan, Managing Partner, SoolNua

In Feb 2016 Dory came into our lives and all hell broke loose. I started to post occasional updates on Facebook on the vicissitudes of my relationship with this frisky, friendly, frustrating Golden Retriever pup and, over time, received more likes and comments on these posts than anything else I posted, even cute family pictures of my grandchildren!

So, by popular demand, here’s the full sequence of Facebook posts starting with Dory aged about 8 months, at the height of her juvenile destructiveness.


17 July 2016

This is Dori Gilligan as she approaches 8 months. There should be a beautiful Clematis Montana on the fence behind us except that Dori ate it. She has also eaten the alarm cable, the TV cables, countless pairs of knickers, socks, dishcloths, Meabh’s converse, good cardigan and many pens. She particularly enjoys tree bark and has gnawed her way through several robust shrubs. Legend!!!

21 July 2016

Here’s today picture of Dori Gilligan. Not as lively or ebullient as her usual self. That’s because she ate an entire box of Macrodantin last night. The good news is she probably won’t get a Urinary Tract Infection anytime soon.

6 Aug 2016

Report #3 on the eating habits of Dory Gilligan. So we’ve been out of town in the US and Canada and during our absence Dory Ní Ghiollagáin has continued to surprise and delight by the range of random objects and items she likes to ingest. The alarm cable has again been attacked.


12 Aug 2016

So we returned from holiday to discover that Dory had taken a shine to my wonderful Bose headphones while also chewing thru the alarm cable (yes, the one that was already replaced previously at great expense)

17 Aug 2016

So this week Dory discovered the garden lights and chewed through the cables. She also fancied my excellent Serengeti Sunglasses and had a good chew of them too. As you can see she’s getting big too although she still thinks she’s a small dog.


26 Aug 2016

From the picture below it may look like I capitulated and had Dory Gilligan sent to the taxidermist such was my anger and rage at her acts of random and wanton destruction. Not so. This is, perhaps, a dog version of “resting bitch face”. Dory is actually smiling here.

I informed her that I’d be posting a picture of her on Twitter in honour of #NationalDogDay and this is the pose by which she elected to present herself.
Since the last update she has been behaving quite well restricting herself to a few pairs of knickers, a good chunk of my beautiful pink Malo and the plastic base of the kids’ slide.

6 September 2016

So after a lull period during which it appeared that Dory was maturing into well manned, upstanding young pup, this happened. Visitors to House Gilligan will notice the limply hanging speaker wire which has been chewed through, temporarily interrupting the broadcast of fine summer sounds into the Gilligan garden.

Eagle-eyed viewers will also spot a variety of formerly blooming garden shrubs and trees and, of course, the underlay which, until Dory’s arrival, prevented weeds from flourishing under the trampoline. But despite the wanton, random destruction that continues, we fall in love more and more each day with our cute canine companion.


19 September 2016

Matters have settled a little as Ms Dory moves through the challenging (dog) teenage years. She is showing definite signs of aspiring adulthood in her choice of things to chew.

This week she filched a full box of Nespresso pods from the kitchen counter top and enjoyed an orgy of high end, expensive coffee under the apple tree in the garden.

Her penchant for the pretty-in-pink Malo Tree has continued and, as summer turns to autumn, it will need no pruning at all, the said pruning having been executed expertly by Dory. I include below the most recent picture of the IKEA stool which has been a routine menu item for Dory for the past weeks. More anon!


2 Oct

So the big news about Ms Dory is that she has definitely entered the difficult years of puberty and, in fact, has had to be confined to barracks due to a propensity to proactively seek out little boy dogs.

The odd time she’s been taken outside I’ve had to take a large stick to defend her honour against several neighborhoods of lusty males who materialize out of nowhere. It appears she has reached her full height now at around 10 months. The garden table is one of her favorite places from which to survey her demesne.


20 October 2015

I’ve been harbouring dark and nefarious thoughts about Dory over these past weeks. As I watch my beautiful garden descent to lower levels of decrepitude – a combination of the onset of winter decay and Dory’s summer of wanton destruction – these thoughts rise to the surface like a bad, embarrassing rash.

On really negative days the scales of choice with “Garden” on one side and “Dog” on the other have not tipped in favour of the canine option. While these thoughts are usually buried and unspoken, I did find myself uttering them publically, once or twice, to an astonished Rita.

“But just look at her”, she’d say. “She’s so cute! She’ll grow out of it!”
So I decided to take Rita’s advice. I went back to the first time we saw the little creature in January. There she was, all big eyed and lovable. I was falling in love again, hook line and sinker.

As the pictures progressed, however, I also found early evidence of that cute garden playfulness that gradually became …


28 Oct 2016

While there’s a core of unpredictability about Dory still, I must say she’s beginning to settle a little. The random chewing continues and I still find knickers in flitters in the garden. However, she’s growing into herself and developing some gloriously eccentric habits.


She loves to observe life from one of the wooden chairs in the garden (she’ll sit there for ages just looking around) and she has taken to presenting herself in my office, always positioning herself strategically, so that you have to interact with her if you move anywhere. She’s not too keen on the brown pellets we’ve been advised to feed to her (I wouldn’t be either!) and some large items of food go mysteriously missing from time to time (like a pound of butter for example!)

8 Nov 2016

So just when it looked like we were out of the woods, Dory found my favorite Maui Jim sunglasses and took them for a test drive out to the garden. The results are not pretty and sadly I’ll have to kiss bye bye to the best sunglasses in the world. However, I’m hopeful that my SITE buddy Jonathan E. Richards will read this post and advise regarding replacement!

[Note: Jonathan was true to his word and I received a beautiful new pair of Maui Jims with his compliments]


21 Nov 2016

We’ve had some good settled weeks with Ms Dory including a nice experience yesterday at Puppy Training when the boldest, naughtiest girl in the class became, rather unexpectedly, one of the best girls in the class. She is now approaching her 1st birthday and has probably reached her full adult size. She continues to survey her world from her perch in the garden.

5 Dec 2016

Dory will be a full year old this week. While destructive instinct remains and she’s still prone to random flashes of total madness – racing at full speed in and out of the house etc – she surprised us at Puppy Training by earning “most improved puppy”. Here she is, proud as lunch with her award.


25 Dec 2016

Christmas special. MeabhNíGhiollagáin created a super dessert for Christmas dinner and during our walk on Dollymount Strand suddenly remembered that Dory had been left alone, loose in the kitchen. Sure enough the dessert came under sustained attack but I’m sure you all agree nobody will know any different when it’s served tonight as the highlight of our dessert buffet.

27 March 2017

So it’s been a while since I posted on Dory’s antics. This, in part, was out of some misguided but hopeful wish that there wouldn’t be any more antics. That she’d settle and become a well behaved dog, respectful of other people’s possessions, private spaces. That she’d stop digging up my beautiful garden, cease the relentless and random munching on tiny bits of lego, tops from milk cartons, buckets, Maui Jim sunglasses, Bose headsets etc etc etc.


I have to admit she has settled a bit. While the frenetic antics continue, they’re less frequent, particularly when she gets a run in the local park here. Bushy Park allows off-leash dog walking until 11 am each morning. When we take her there she runs and runs until she collapses from exhaustion. She enthusiastically pursues other dogs and jumps on top of any human who makes eye contact. No mucky pathway or dirty pool is avoided so by the time we bring her home she’s not a white dog anymore.

Recently she has taken to checking out our neighbour’s garden and continues her fetish for long sticks.

22 April 2017

Its clear now that Dory needs a massive run in the park off the lead on a daily basis. Thankfully you’re allowed have your dog off the lead until 11am in our local park. She loves to ramble and roam and goes crazy on the trail of squirrels, badgers and foxes. I’m not convinced she’s fully out of the chewing, gnawing stage yet but she’s getting there. Here she is with the next generation of Gilligans.


1 May 2017

I have a feeling that the Dory posts from now on will be characterised by a decided alteration of tone. The notes of despair, sometimes vague, sometimes strong across previous posts will be replaced by positive notes of fondness and affection. We now know definitively that Dory needs space to run and roam and when she gets that space her destructive tendencies simply don’t emerge.

Today we took her to Enniskerry to Knocksink Woods and it did our hearts glad to see her dipping in and out of the limpid, translucent stream, losing herself amidst the wild garlic and climbing, goat-like, up high verges under a clear blue sky.

Long may it last!


8 June 2017

Since the commencement of the early morning walks in Bushy Park (departure 6:30) Dory has settled more and more into adulthood developing a quirky, colour-outside-the-lines personality.

She likes nothing better than to sit for hours on end on this garden chair – or sometimes the table – and gaze in at me as I battle with e mails and conference calls. Every so often she’ll approach the door of the office and I’ll admit her. She’ll then stretch out on the white rug and sleep peacefully.


If I go out of the room that’s her cue to nose around in the trash basket and when I return she’ll have a guilty look and stuff will have – literally – disappeared.

On the early AM walks she’s off the lead and free to roam. She loves this and goes in and out of the river, loses herself in the woods, chases birds and challenges much naturally faster dogs like Lurchers to races which, amazingly, she competes in admirably.

To think I actually considered getting rid of her? But that was when she ate my Virginia Creeper and one year later that’s grown again!

7 August 2017

So it’s been a while since I posted on Dory but on the eve of National Dog Day (Saturday 24 August) I thought it’d be appropriate.

I should start by expressing a certain regret in respect of some of my previous posts in which Dory was portrayed as some kind of brainless vandal intent only on gratuitous violence and acts of random destruction. As many of you so sagely advised at the time – “She’s just a pup, she’ll grown out of it” and, of course, that’s exactly what has happened.
That said, I wouldn’t leave her on her own in the Utility Room with a washing basket full of freshly washed knickers. Grainne NiGhiollagain did that only 6 weeks ago and had to give her sister Meabh NíGhiollagáin a lot of money to replenish her supply on her recent trip to Victoria’s Secret in Boston (Ireland doesn’t have a full retail offering yet, it seems).


I take Dory out each morning to Bushy Park around 6:30 am and watching her run wild and free gladdens my heart and sets me up for the day. She’s driven demented at the moment there by squirrels who are very active with their end of summer preparations. I wait as she darts hither and thither intoxicated by squirrel scents and, for some reason, I usually end up humming Candi Staton’s brilliant 1976 hit “Young hearts run free”.
Today Grainne NiGhiollagain brought her to work so here are pictures of Dory along with other Croke Park dogs in and around the hallowed halls and sacred turf of GAA HQ where the Gilligan family will be on Sunday afternoon to cheer on the Dubs.

Patrick Delaney, Pádraic Gilligan and Aoife McCrum all own dogs. They also run SoolNua, a specialist agency working with destinations, hotels and venues on strategy, marketing and training.

This post is not typical of what is posted weekly on this blog.




One thought on “Dory & Me – from Frustration to Friendship

  1. Susan Sheahan says:

    What a fab post! Dory sounds amazing & great craic!

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