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My first two childhood companions were Blackie Duke, a black Lab, and Skippy, a Cocker Spaniel. Both named by my mother.
The first dog that I was allowed to name was my childhood Beagle, Snoopy. I think the inspiration for that name is pretty obvious (Thank you, Charles Schultz). Because I was in elementary school, that name had to be approved by my parents.
The true test of my dog naming abilities came with my very first "just mine" dog, Benji.
Adopted from an animal shelter while I was still in college, Benji was named after Benjamin Franklin. Because Benji was a mutt, I remember wanting a very American name that reflected the melting pot nature of our country. (Seriously. I thought like that back then.)
Next came another shelter dog, Sherman. I was generous enough to allow the Dog Daddy to select his name (with my wholehearted approval.)
Sherman was named after Sherman T. Potter of television series MASH fame.
When we adopted our black Lab mix from a shelter, I was certain he would grow up to be a chunky, blocky, hunky fellow.
I named Spanky after that fellow on the right of Lil Rascals fame. Friends told me I should've used Buckwheat. Maybe so. Spanky grew up to be a lean athletic fellow and never resembled a "Spanky" at all.
My Border Collie, Lizzy, showed up at our farm and chose me.
There was no agony on my part about her name. She just felt like a Lizzy immediately. I didn't realize the meaning of her name until I decided to write this blog post. As I'm fond of saying on Facebook about some images: TRUTH!
Then came Tucker. Excuse me while I pause to chuckle.
He was another stray that chose us. The Dog Daddy was not keen on adding a puppy to our family right then, so I wasn't sure we would keep him. Since we had to rush him immediately to a vet, he needed a name fast.Tucker came to us from the road. We named him for that road: Tucker
Lucy's name was easy and I chose it solo.
Lucy B was named for my fifth great grandmother, Lucy Bays Bingham who was born in Virginia in 1778 and moved to Indiana in the 1820's. On the bottom right you can see her cabin which is now in the Indiana University Mathers Museum. Though I'm not sure my ancestor would appreciate it, Lucy B was named as a tribute.
Jeffie has a big name to live up to and, frankly, there was a lot of debate about it in our house. The Dog Daddy was persuasive.
Jeffie was named after Dog Daddy's all-time hero: Thomas Jefferson. Depending on present company, we also acknowledge a smidge of Jefferson Davis influence, but that's another story!
Our poor yellow Lab puppy spent a few weeks with no name at all while we agonized. Lists were made. Names added; names crossed off. When the Dog Daddy began threatening to call him Tator, I knew I had to do something fast.
I'd always wanted to name a dog after my favorite childhood story book, but I wasn't sure the name fit. Rudy is named after Rootie Kazootie. Little did we know that as Rudy grew up and "explored" the yard that I needn't have worried. Rootie would have been quite appropriate.
Hmmm... a little bit of history. Some popular culture. Some genealogy and fond reminiscence. A few snap decisions; a few that took quite a bit of time.
Is there a theme or pattern to how we've named our dogs?
Perhaps it is simply that it is important to us. Important to somehow reflect ourselves in combination with the bundles of love that are our best friends.