Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to Name a Dog

The most popular dog name in our town is Lucy.  We know that because of license registrations.
A family at our daughters' school has a Lucy.  Here she is, although she's doubled in size since this photo was taken a few months ago.

Years ago dogs often had double names, like horses.  On top of that they had nicknames.  Below is a picture of Claudia and Fly Boy.

Claudia (top), Fly Boy (bottom)

Fly Boy was my dad's dog as a child.  He was already named when they got him.  Perhaps it had something to do with his prodigious jumping ability.  He could jump like a kangaroo or "fly", but only in one direction.  He could jump into his outdoor pen with ease, but impailed himself on efforts to jump out.  The ground was level on each side.  "Dumbest dog in the world," Dad says in Follow the Dog Home.

Dee Dee was my dad's first dog.  Dee Dee was short for Dimity Davis.  

Dee Dee (foreground), 1941

There was Frisky the Mongrel, who was better known as "Runner" because that's what he did--and usually away from home.  His speed was impressive.  So was his reading ability.  One day after a lengthy search, Dad's family found him sitting under a street sign that read Essex Avenue.  Right street, wrong town.  Runner was a couple of miles away from his true home on Essex Avenue in Montclair, NJ.

Susie and Family, 1988

Susan Marie--there's those two names again--was the family Golden Retriever.   My mom and dad had an arrangement.  She would get to name the boys, he could name the girls.  Mom and dad had three sons: Chris, Kevin and Michael.  Dad loved the name Susan Marie.  But with no girls to name, he named the dog after the daughter he never had.  We all called her Susie.

Left to right.  Kevin, Samantha, Bob holding Annie & Beverly

We are currently on our second German Shepherd.  The first was Tiffany, the second is Beverly (seen above).  We give our Shepherds girly girl names to take the edge off the reputation.  "You can't name a German Shepherd Tiffany," more than a few people have offered.  "You gotta give them a strong name like Duchess or Olga."

Uh, no we don't.

I bumped into a very cute Corgi the other day who was being walked by a young high school girl.  I like Corgis.  Their faces are as happy as a Bulldog's face is sad.  I asked the girl what the dog's name was.  She said, "Annie."  Just like my dad's Corgi, Annie, seen in the family photo above.

Annie the Corgi
Winnie the Bulldog
One final one.  Years ago I saw a high school boy walking an odd looking dog around a lake in Central California.  The dog looked like it could have been from outer space, or from Guam which is legendary for strays, or "boonie dogs."  The dog's name was Yigo, pronounced Gee'-go.  "How did you get that name?" I asked.

"Well my dad was in the Air Force and we lived in Guam.  Guam was the name of our village.  He's named after our village.  Nobody's ever heard of it."

Not true.  Not only did I know where Yigo was, I'd been there, having lived in Guam in the mid 1990s.  The dog's name sparked a much lengthier conversation after that.

Have a cool dog name story?  Share it.

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