No Christmas present ever rivalled the year Reilly brought the Labrador puppy home on Christmas Eve 2010.

For the following five days his family christened that puppy every name under the sun but none seemed to stick.

Fearing that the puppy might undergo a permanent identity crisis Reilly decreed an ultimatum to the family.

‘It’s like this now guys. I’m bringing you down to Linnanes for two pints and by the time we leave that pub you’ll have decided on a name for the puppy. Understood?’

‘Only if we can bring the puppy with us for inspiration,’ insisted Oige, the youngest.

After the first pint, and when there was still no consensus on a name, Reilly went into ‘consultant mode.’ The process of ‘Naming’ is big business in the corporate world, and in his capacity as an innovation consultant, Reilly had facilitated many successful ‘Naming’ sessions for products and services. 

‘Look up at the shelf of drinks above the bar there. Somewhere on that shelf is the name for our new puppy. Now, what I want is agreement and consensus on what that name is.’

They were half way down that shelf and had liked ‘Bailey,’ ‘Bacardi,’ and ‘Campari’ when a friendly fellow interrupted their discussion and bending down to the puppy asked what his name was.

Reilly, fearing that he might lose focus on the process, heedlessly said.

‘Well, we’re actually searching for a name for him right now, and could name him Harry Potter because you’re the living spit of him.’

‘That’s probably because I play the part of Harry Potter in the film series. My name’s Dan Radcliffe. Do you mind if I join you in coming up with a name for him?

‘Can the Pope say Mass,’ was Reillys immediate reaction to being joined in a thatched roofed pub in the Burren in Co Clare by probably the most famous film star in the world at that time.

Dan was on a holiday with his then girlfriend in Ballyvaughan and simply wanted to hang out with a real family (and an adorable puppy).

Three nights later, as Dan was departing back to the set of the most recent film he was shooting, a beautiful bond had developed between Dan and the puppy.

The thing was they still hadn’t agreed a name for him.

‘I think you should call him Harry after me,’ said Dan to Reilly.

‘I can’t,’ says Reilly. We already have a Harry in our family.

‘In that case, call him Potter.’

And they did.

And for fourteen glorious years Potter lived a full life.

As Reilly and Oige accompanied Potter on his final journey to Ballyhugh Vets in Gort on Tuesday last they reflected on all the things you can learn about business and life from a dog.


  • When loved ones come home, always run enthusiastically to greet them.
  • When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
  • Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
  • Take frequent naps and always stretch before rising.
  • Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • If what you want is buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
  • Thrive on attention and let people cuddle and touch you. 
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water, and lie under a shady tree.
  • No matter how often you’re scolded, avoid buying into the guilt thing and pout … run right back and make friends again.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.


‘If you want love, buy yourself a dog.’

— Alan Weiss. Author of ‘Speak and Grow Rich.’


1. How will you act and behave and perform more like a dog this week?


Potter accompanied Reilly on literally thousands of swims. Unlike most of his breed however he was not partial to actually swimming but preferred to lie minding Reillys clothes on the beach and watching the talent.

One particular day Reilly had swam about no more than a hundred yards out to sea when he was beckoned by a loud roar from a lady on shore.

‘Is your dog castrated? she cried frantically.

There, in flagrante delicto, was Potter and a beautiful Weimaraner bitch.

They teach you in Smácht how to make important decisions quickly.

Reilly calculated that by the time he’d swim back against the current to attend to the incident that the matter of Potters fertility status would be inconsequential. Furthermore, he knew that Tarzan himself would have been incapable of separating the amorés.

‘I can’t hear you,’ he replied and continued swimming with the current. 

As Reilly and Oige were returning from Gort Reilly asked the Universe to send him a sign or a message that Potter was in a good place.

Sure enough, as they passed Mary Greenes pub in Kinvara a stately specimen was sauntering down the Main Street. While it had the sleek body of the Wiemarinar the head and the gait were unmistakably Potter.

The words of Matthew 6:13 came clearly to Reilly. ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.’

Leaba i measc na  n-aingeal agus na naoimh agus na madraí eile agat go deo. Ní bheidh do leithéid arís ann.

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