A rose by any other name

Pet names. For our beloved pets, not our beloved humans. One could write a book about pet names, and no doubt several people already have.

I’m in pet-naming mode again because the dog I’m likely to adopt next week is named Itamar. What kind of name is Itamar, anyway? Having never heard it before, I turned to Google, and apparently it’s the name of an Israeli town. Practically speaking, it would likely get shortened to Itty or something, and that doesn’t do anything for me either, so I’ll probably be changing it.

I obssess over names. The choosing of them. I end up compiling written lists of brilliant possibilities before choosing the perfect one. I want each to be just right, appropriate in every way for the pet destined to get stuck live his life with it. Alas, my results over the years have been mixed. It seems one can over-think the naming thing, and when it comes to over-thinking, I’m a master.

Childhood pets:

  • Sig — a border collie type stray, named for my brother’s best friend; I hope the friend felt appropriately honored, even if he did spell his name Sieg (Seig?)
  • Pooch — a blond cocker type stray who ended up with that name because my dad kept calling him “pooch” and I didn’t know that was just another word for “dog”
  • Tam-o-Shanter (“Tammy”) — a cairn terrier who came with that name; neither he nor I knew Tammy was a girl’s name
  • Bippity Boppity Boo (“Bippy”) — a female toy fox terrier who either came with the name or got it after my mom suggested it
  • Penny — a toy fox terrier, mostly white, with a big copper-colored spot on her rump
  • Charlie Brown — a brown and white “hooded” lab rat, kept after a science fair study concluded

There were many lesser pets — ducks, chicks, rabbits, turtles, fish, parakeets, chameleons, horned toads — whose names I don’t recall; shame on me. In restrospect I’d have to say my mother was a saint to let me keep such a menagerie over the years.

Adult pets (when maturity and good sense supposedly took over):

  • Pookie — a Siamese cat, often invisible, like Harvey the pooka rabbit
  • Genghis Khan (“Genghis”) — a Siamese cat, ruler of the house
  • Chato — an orange tabby that made me think of Native American names
  • Shaman — a blue-eyed part-Siamese cat who looked mysterious and wise
  • Sly — a black-and-white tuxedo cat reminiscent of the cartoon cat Sylvester and with the physical prowess of Sly Stallone; not to mention it seemed like an incredibly cool name for a cat
  • Queso — a feral orange tabby, caught and adopted as a kitten
  • Sarazen Karamazov (“Zen”) — a Samoyed who made us think of Russia and things exotic
  • Tybee’s Autumn Thunder (“Thunder”) — a Golden Retriever purchased in the fall; ironically he turned out to be absolutely terrified of thunder
  • Vonjo’s Nearly Nimbus (“Mousse”) — a Ragdoll cat; “quick, name something fluffy, sweet, and extra special.” Most people probably think the name is Moose, which is also appropriate, as big as he is. He was almost dubbed Nimbus before Mousse was suggested
  • Amber — a delicate little amber-colored sable Sheltie
  • Jumpin’ Zack Flash (“Zack”) — a black-and-white Sheltie; the breeder used movie titles for all her dogs’ names, so I came up with this
  • Bodacious (“Bo”) — a bold, outrageously handsome Brittany
  • Mandy — a cream-colored Golden Retriever, named for the gal in the Manilow song (it was a gal, wasn’t it?)
  • Aggie — a tortoiseshell cat cursed to go through life wearing the Oklahoma State Aggies’ black and orange

I’ll bet most people name their pets quickly. He’s black — Blackie. She’s small — Tiny. He’s hyper — Dizzy. She’s a she — Lady. Bada bing, bada boom. Done. I, on the other hand, dream of the day when I can be as clever as the basketball fan who named his horse NeighNeigh. Or the hockey fan who named his cat Clawed LeMew. I know I’d love my pets just as much if they were named Charlie, or Buddy, or Rover. But still … Itamar?

One thought on “A rose by any other name

  1. No to Itamar, that’s just horrid. “Bippity Boppity Boo” Hilarious! Wow, you sure have had a lot of pets- you are right, your mom was nice to let you have all of them! It’s not easy for us to name pets- we all sit down and suggest names together. I call Cozmo all sorts of things, “Cozzie Moe-Moe” – “Delicious” – I usually call him something other than his given name- LOL! Our little Bella is doing great. I find that as time goes on, another name fits better but I call them by their real name only 1/2 the time. Oh, I’m so excited about you getting a new dog- I cannot wait to hear all the details PT!
    Bella is a great name in so many ways, and your Bella is so adorable I can hardly stand it. Unfortunately, my son’s dog already has it. It will take at least a couple of days with a new dog to settle on the right name.

... and that's my two cents