Best of 2020: Mike Nolan

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but apparently, an old dog can teach a new dog tricks. This year, librarian Mike Nolan and his wife Amy adopted a new dog, and Nolan’s accomplishment of 2020 was that for the first time in his life, he taught a dog how to play fetch.

The Nolans adopted Finan, named after a character in their favorite show, “The Last Kingdom,” in June, and Nolan quickly began teaching Finn the game.

“I found videos on YouTube,” Nolan said. “You have to be really enthusiastic so that the dog wants to do it, and there were a lot of steps involved.”

Nolan explained that he had to buy a 50 foot leash in case Finn started running the wrong way. Initially, Finn was more interested in playing tug-of-war with the ball than fetch, but eventually he started to bring it back, he said.

“We started on a small field at Capital, but once he got the hang of it, we moved to the big field, and I was able to start taking the long leash off,” Nolan said. “At first, distractions on the field were a struggle for Finn, but now he’s able to shut the other dogs and people out and only focus on the game.”

Once Finn had the game down, it became a regular activity for Nolan and Finn.

“I look forward to it every day,” Nolan said. “He’s tireless, and it doesn’t matter if we’ve been doing it for two minutes or two hours, he’ll sprint after it like a missile every time.”

The Nolan family lost their 16-year-old dog Mallory in the spring, but Finan was able to fill some of that hole, Nolan said.

“Finn brought back a lot of joy after Mallory passed away, so having him around made this year a lot better,” Nolan said.

Although 2020 was long and hard, Nolan said Finn definitely improved his year.

“I really did find man’s best friend in Finn,” Nolan said.

Margaret Zirwas
Margaret Zirwas is a staff reporter for The Torch. She is a junior at Bexley High School, and this is her first year as a member of the staff. Outside of Torch, she cheers for Bexley.