|Adopting the right dog is hard; choosing the right name is harder
Boy, I thought the months of looking for the right dog was hard. It has nothing on the weeks of trying to choose the right name. Everyone has an opinion (or two), and they are very vocal about sharing it – at least that’s true of my friends and family.
The dog we just recently adopted from a rescue group is a 2-year-old, male, golden retriever. Because he was a stray, we don’t know what his name was for the first part of his life. When the rescue group pulled him from the municipal shelter in Southern California, they named him Maverick. A nice enough name, but it didn’t roll off the tongue, and we didn’t like the troublemaker meaning.
Many people take the easy road when naming a pet: how many calico cats do you know named Cali? How many black animals are Blackie? Reddish colored dogs named Rusty? Sometimes a particular physical characteristic stands out and makes a name obvious, such as a cat with white feet named Sox or Mittens, a black dog with a white stripe named Blaze, or an animal with one eye patch of color named Bandit (or Patch).
Trainers and animal experts recommend names that are either one or two syllables that are easy to say – names ending in an “e” sound are perfect, like “Lucky” “Buddy” and “Spunky.” If you pick a longer name, like Mr. Purrington, you know you will end up shortening it for everyday use anyway. The most important thing is to be able to remember it, and that’s the problem I was having with some of the names we came up with. I liked them but couldn’t remember them. I also have a strong prejudice against using people names – if you want a Lucy, Betty or Timmy, then have a child. I like warm fuzzy names that make it clear you are speaking about an animal like “Mittens”, “Fluffy” and “Purrberry.”
Since we adopted him about a month ago and the Olympics were on, it seemed natural to try and tie that in somehow. He was a golden retriever and went instantly into the kiddie pool set up in the yard, so he was Phelps and Mister Phelps for the first several days. But that was a struggle for me to remember, and Phelps started to sound like someone burping. So we switched to Bailey (which would have been cute, as that’s the name of the AKC education ambassador dog) but that didn’t work either. He was Clancy for a day, then a long list of other names were quickly thrown out. My husband kept saying the choice was mine, but he did veto my favorite – “Magic.” I was almost ready to go back to Maverick when we settled on Brandy.
I was given real flak for that with some of my friends and family, insisting that Brandy is a girl’s name. I say that if it’s for a girl, it’s spelled Brandie or Brandi and it’s Brandy with a “y” for a boy. I’ve known two male dogs named Brandy, so I’m not the only one who thinks that. The dog was confused enough by the constant name changes, so Brandy it is and Brandy it will stay. Who knew picking the name would be harder than picking out the dog? How did you come up with the name for your pet? I’m starting a list now to have ready for our next one because I don’t want to go through this dilemma again.
Mutt Strut teams are forming now. Grab your friends or co-workers and sign up at www.animalshelterleaguerp.org. Help raise money for the shelter animals at this fun dog walk. Plan on attending this exciting event on Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Schedule of demos and contests now up on the Web site.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at email@example.com.