Ode to Brown Dog – Best in Breed

When Gwen and I first started talking about this blog platform for Healthcare IT talent, we agreed the content needed to be focused exclusively on our industry. That’s exactly what we’ve done. Until now. I’d like to step outside of HCIT for just a moment (if I could) and tell you a very personal story about a different type of talent, trust, friendship and – best of breed. Does that work? Cool.

Having an incredible sense of creativity is clearly not my strongest skill set. In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to run large organizations in publicly traded companies as well as small privately held companies and always gave deference to others when it came to tasks that demanded creativity. Creativity is not my sweet spot and I get that. Just don’t tell my family that!

Seventeen years ago, while living in Marietta GA, my wife and I decided it was time to get a family pet. With a twenty spot in hand (that would be $20) we headed to the local pound to get a sense for the inventory and talent available. My daughter Erica and I were driving this quest – to find the best talent of all of the dogs available. Cultural fit (for my family) was important. Erica and I walked around and in less than five minutes we spotted the best talent in the room – a beautiful brown Welsh Corgi named “Coco.” She was the one – out of the gate. Oh YEAH. DONE! Erica and I took Coco into a holding area to get acquainted with her – she tried to bite me. I knew she was the one and that love-bite re-affirmed the decision. Erica and I wanted a protector and Coco’s skill-set matched exactly what we were looking for. My family and I all agreed we had the right pet but… Coco needed a new identity and – a new name. Back to my lack of creativity. I was asked to come up with a killer name for our new pet and since Coco was Brown in color, I thought Brown Dog would be a great name for her. And so the stage was set. Her name officially from that day forward was “BROWN DOG .” It didn’t take long and eventually we shortened her name to just… “BROWN.”

For seventeen years BROWN performed her job well. She was the protector (bit at least 3 family members), the guard dog (circled the yard or the house constantly looking for intruders) and the confidant we all needed and wanted. She was perfect in every way. She was the first one out of bed and the last one to retire at night. She met and exceeded the job spec. Really – she did!

Last week we said good-bye to BROWN. It was a very tough day. BROWN was dependable, loyal, and lived up to every expectation we ever wanted. She will be missed – no doubt. She did her job and delivered – always going beyond the call of duty.

My family misses her, her best buddy Baylee (our Boston terrier) misses her – and I miss her.  I appreciate you allowing me to share my personal story with you. I hope you have a BROWN in your life. Pets love you unconditionally and help you find some sort of balance in a sometimes hectic life.

BROWN was the MOST!

About the author


Tim Tolan

Tim Tolan is the Senior Partner of the Healthcare IT and Services Practice of Sanford Rose Associates. He has conducted searches for CEOs, presidents, senior vice presidents, vice presidents of business development, product development and sales. Tim is also the co-author of "The CEO’s Guide to Talent Acquisition – Finding Talent Your Competitors Overlook," available on Amazon.


  • Wonderful story Tim, a great tribute to the THE MOST, wonderful dog. She was lucky girl.

  • Wow, Tim – great story! So sorry about Brown Dog – maybe in a few months you could consider getting Baylee a new pal. Maybe a White Dog or a Black Dog. Or how about a Salty Dog? 🙂


  • Dad! I finally read it. And, YES, I am crying…..but it was well written. I miss her so much but she’s happy….she gets to patrol heaven. Probably the biggest yard she could ask for.

    And about Baylee’s new friend. I have some ideas. I’ll have my people contact yours.

  • Ok, I decided I had to read the “Brown Dog” blog you posted. It was hard, since animals and especially dogs are close to my heart.

    Sorry about your family’s loss but you have given her immortality with your story. What a tribute!

  • Tim: What a wonderful break away from the traditional Blog, yet one well deserved. Brown was a constant in the Tolan household for years and we send our condolences. Business cycles have ups and downs over time, but the lost of a family member reminds of how precious time really is… BT

  • Thanks for all of your comments!
    Brown has offically had her “15 Minutes of Fame – and well deserved I might add. -Tim

  • Great writing here! I will miss Brown too, I think I may be one of the three family members that was bitten.
    Keep up the good work Tim!

    Nick T

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