What’s (Really) in a Name?

Shakespeare said that a rose by any other name would still smell sweet. OK, true, but names are potent things.

I serve on the board of a group breeding and training service dogs for people with disabilities, and we’re now preparing (on paper, anyway) for our first litter of puppies. So we’re starting to think of names that start with A.

Usually, when you name a dog, you want something short that’s easy for them to recognize. Registered show dogs have real fancy names on paper (like Waverly’s After the Fact, or Creekview X Marks the Spot), but they don’t get called those things in the backyard: “Taffy, quit digging up the rosebushes” or “Spot, come!”.

More often than not, what you call the dog at home has absolutely nothing to do with their “pedigreed” name. So your champion stud, Acreage M.K. Melissa’s Blues Singer is otherwise known as “Jake”.

(I probably should have mentioned earlier that any resemblance to real dogs, living or dead, is purely a coincidence and all names in this account are fictional, except in reference to my own dogs.)

I’ve always enjoyed naming animals; when I was raising dairy goats, I earned a reputation for being creative. People either cracked up when they saw our goats’ names (Song-of-Joy Cat’s Pajamas, Song-of-Praise Yackity Yack), or they couldn’t pronounce them (Song-of-Joy Sleipnir, Song-of-Joy Magnificat).

As for my dogs, they both came named. My grandmother said that “Kiefer” meant old pine tree in German (although I’m not sure if this is true), and Ecko is either a line of clothing or a company that makes kitchen appliances. (I prefer to say that it’s the sound we hear when we tell him to do anything and he has to stop and think about it.)

So, while the “house” names have to be short and start with A (Apologize!, Accident, Atchoo! … no, I don’t think so), their “paper” names leave a lot more room for expression (Anyone Wanna Dog?, Aw, Cute!, All Right All Right I’m Coming!, Ask Me Again … hmmmm, I don’t think those fit, either).

In all seriousness, I’m sure we’ll wait and see what puppies are like, then name them. There’s nothing worse than being born into a ready-made name, only to discover that it doesn’t fit the character of whoever it’s for (can you imagine naming a toy poodle who’s scared of everything Byway’s Adventuresome Goliath the 12th?).

And no fair doing the naming when the puppies are still too tiny to have personalities of their own (Pooper, Drooler, Biter, Whiner and Pisser just don’t cut it).

They will fit what you name them. Kiefer, for instance, is very meticulous about following commands (well, at least the ones he’s not pretending he can’t hear now that he’s thirteen and retired), while Ecko is just a big goof who often forgets that his head is attached to his body and, if he jumps down the stairs without aiming just right, he’ll crash into the wall (and this after living in our house for almost two years).

I’m looking forward to naming puppies. It’s sure to be a lot of laughs, but we’ll all know when we’ve hit on just the right one. It just clicks.

And in the mean time, there’s all those A names we’ll cross off the list just because (Appendix, Advil, Ampersand, Apostrophe … )

And yes, we’re keeping a list of possibilities, so if you’ve got one to suggest (it’s gotta start with A, of course), we’ll take them. Thanks in advance. (Oh, that starts with A … )

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6 Comments on “What’s (Really) in a Name?”

  1. your true love Says:

    Abalone, Amethyst, Agate, Amazonite, Amber, Aventurine, Azurite, Andalusite, Apatite, Aquamarine, Astrophylite, Ametrine, Aragonite, Alexandrite, Aqua Aura, Apache tears, Albite, Ammonite, Apophyllite

    stone names and all that…

  2. tobeme Says:

    Sounds like fun! Good luck with the names and let us know how it all turns out.

  3. halfnotes Says:

    Love,

    Those are neat … I’d worry the dogs would all go around eating rocks, though!

  4. halfnotes Says:

    Tobeme,

    Yes, probably one of the most fun parts of doing the animal thing, in my opinion. You can name thousands of animals in your imagination and never have to worry about paying their vet bills! But yes, I’m sure there will be more about this in the future.

  5. halfnotes Says:

    Yes, and while we’re on a musical theme, how about Allegro, Adagio, and Andante? I like Aida, though; perhaps we can teach her to sing!


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