Finnegan came to live with us on August 21, 2009. He was left at the foot of the driveway of Adirondack Save-a-Stray with his brother, in a cardboard box. Not the happiest start to life.

On his first day as the newest member of our family, we brought him to my mother’s house. There, he met his “Uncle Max.” Later, we brought him home to meet his “big” brother, Roscoe, a grey domestic shorthair. Roscoe is still somewhat put out by the situation.

Finnegan is a Doberman/German Shepherd mix. He’s about 12 weeks old (give or take a couple of weeks), and if I did my math correctly, his birthday is on or around May 30, 2009 – the fourth anniversary of my grandfather’s death. Chris suggested we celebrate the birthday on a different day, if that was too painful. Initially, I thought this may be a good idea; that is, until we chose his name.

While deciding on a name – which my boyfriend, Chris, and I decided should be of a literary nature (to follow the pattern of Roscoe, who is named after the primary character in the 2002 William Kennedy novel of the same name), so therefore I scanned the bookshelf to see if anything suitable popped out. I saw Chris’s copy of Finnegan’s Wake and thought, “Finnegan. A good Irish name for our new dog!” And, now, that is his name.

That night, when my uncle met our new puppy, he excitedly exclaimed, “Pop DID inspire your name, after all!” He did? And then I remembered: “In again, out again, Finnegan!” Grandpa used to exclaim this whenever he let his dog outside in the yard, or let his cat out to prowl the neighborhood. Particularly, our one dog growing up, Tory (an exceptionally large English Springer Spaniel) used to want to go outside constantly, but wanted so much more to be by someone’s (preferably, Grandpa’s) side. Grandpa would let Tory out, and then in about 30 seconds, he would be pawing at the door, whimpering to come back inside so as not to be too far away from Grandpa. “In again, out again, Finnegan!” he would exclaim.

And, now, this is my dog’s name. Named after a book consciously, but perhaps Grandpa was watching over me while I scanned that bookshelf? Part of me likes to think so. I hope he is watching, because I know he would adore Finnegan.

He would adore Roscoe, too. I say this here in particular, because Roscoe is feeling terribly neglected and put out by the new addition, even though we are doing our best to shower him with love and affection as well, and are probably paying more attention to him than ever. However, jealousy knows no bounds. Therefore, it is important to note that Grandpa would love BOTH of the boys in my happy menagerie.