What’s in a name

What good is a blog if I’m not blogging about my new dog? And I haven’t been. It’s all been going on Facebook.

Anyway, let’s skip ahead. Naming her. No one seems to appreciate what a deeply personal decision this is. I’ve been making light of this problem on Facebook. I’m not shutting down people who have been offering suggestions, even though there is almost no chance I will use any of them.

Perhaps it’s been good that every name I’ve intended to use has been vetoed by someone. On one hand, I shouldn’t care when anyone else thinks. On the other hand, a day of reflection has been causing me to the veto every name.

“How about…?”

“What about…?”

“Just call her…”

“She doesn’t understand that that’s her name, anyway.”

“You’re ridiculous.”

“You’re not really gonna call her that.”


Ok, enough. Thanks for the support. I’m going to name her something that everyone thinks is utterly ridiculous. (Utterly…haha, I made a pun, since she is pretty udderly.) And you’re not going to like it. And I’m going to be amused with myself.

Aremid was named after a soap opera place/storyline. The story behind it is silly, but I can’t imagine having named him anything else.

Zellouisa was named after one day of brainstorming, eventually the merging of a few names I liked, forming something that no one else has ever come up with, and I’ve been happy with that, and I can’t imagine calling her anything else.

Herman was named after my grandfather, and the name fit from day one, and I barely ever gave it a second thought.

Mr. Featherbottom was named after an Arrested Development character’s alter ego. Sadly, he didn’t live long enough for his name to become legendary. While I might have abbreviated his name as “Mr. F” in speaking and writing of him, and I did actually call him by his full name to his face, and I’ve done with Zellouisa for 16 1/2 years, even though his name was six syllables.

But I think naming dogs is different from naming cats. Only people I know will ask what the cats’ names are, while many strangers will see the dog outside of my house and ask about his name. So I really need to make it something that I don’t have to pronounce twice.

Except that I don’t. That’s the rationale I gave when I just threw out a name I went so far as to create a tag for. But I also decided it was a lousy name.

This naming exercise has been draining, mostly because it reminds me of how little there is of interest that defines me. Before you try to correct me, let me explain. I haven’t traveled enough to have many places that inspire me. I haven’t read enough books to have had characters that stand out. I can’t even think of TV shows that I adore so much that I want to use a name from one of them. (Ok, not entirely true. I’ve gone through a bunch of TV-inspired names. Many. But I haven’t stuck with any of them). Movies? I haven’t seen enough movies, really, to have a great movies to pull from.

I’ve gone through many, many common names, and many variations of common names, and I’ve explored Google Translate and nameberry.com for hours upon hours. I’ve come up with a lot of good names, I think, but, in the end, I decide they don’t really resonate, and I don’t want to use a random name.

The naming exercise also reminds me how few people “get me.” This is not a criticism of anyone. It’s a criticism of myself. But those who know me best know I’m going to come up with something out of left field, no matter what they suggest.

I think naming a cat after a soap opera plot is fine, and I don’t mind that people I know I used to watch Days of Our Lives religiously.

I think it’s fine that I invented a name that sounds funny and, perhaps, is ludicrous.

I think it’s fine that I named a dog after a close relative.

I think it’s fine that I named a cat something completely ridiculous.

But, now, I hear one “No! You can’t name ___” and I say, “Ok, I guess I won’t.”

I’m going to have a finite number of pets in my life. I’m not naming animals at the shelter. She’s already my best friend.

But it’s been two weeks now. Puppy class starts on Monday (she’s four, but all ages are welcome), so that’s a pretty hard deadline.


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