What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

I read an article on BuzzFeed that asked “What’s The Story Behind Your Dog’s Name?” There were some interesting answers, click the tittle to see the original post. It made me think about the names of my dogs, past and present.

One of the negatives about adopting a dog from a shelter is that they usually come complete with names. When I adopted my first dog, a black Lab cross, he was seven months old, with the unfortunate name of Taco. For some reason, this name just grated on me. By the time I had driven home from the shelter, his name had been changed to Paco. A much nobler name for the sleek dog he became.

Our dog Moe was named by the family that rescued him, his mother and two brothers from a field. At the Moe at the Hoteltime, the puppies were tiny bundles of fur just weeks old. The three stumbling puppies were named Larry, Curly and Moe after the comedy team the Three Stooges. Although I had never been a fan of giving dogs people names, we agree to keep Moe’s name. If we were going to name him now the only appropriate names I can think of would be Hurricane or Trouble. During his mischievous times he often leaves a trail of destruction behind him. Even now, a sage eight years old,  he elicits the utterance “Oh no Moe!” from us on a daily basis. His ability to escape enclosures has also lead to the nickname Moe-dini.

Taz RenoTaz was the last dog we adopted. We don’t know the history of his name but we didn’t even think about changing it. Taz more than any of our other dogs became the dog with 1,000 names. A few of his nicknames were Razz-a-ma-taz and all that Jaz, Tazman, Kilroy because he would lay his head over the back of the couch looking like the WWII symbol Kilroy was Here, Tator because when in the house he was a couch potato, Bumper because he would bump into you and almost knock you off your feet, Watchman and Sargent because he would make rounds of the yard keeping an eye on everything and finally Barkley Barkster because any movement in the yard would set off a long, loud series of barks.

Tri-Color CollieWhen I married my husband, he already had Tasha and Willa. He named the cute bundle of fur Tasha when she was a puppy, a name foreshadowing the elegant looking grande dame she became. She also was known as our Diva Dog and our Dancing Girl.

Tasha in Her Younger Days

Willa was adopted when she was seven months old and came with her name. I don’t think Willa really suits her, she is a stronger and more feisty dog than her name suggests.However, Willa she is and will always be.Willa Tracking resized

Calling our dogs by another name, other than their nicknames, would be like suddenly calling a chair Table or calling the sky Rock. Your dogs do not become their name, their name becomes them. Hearing the name Tasha leads to vivid images of the Diva Dog that occupied a huge space in my life before her passing in 2014. Just as hearing the names Paco, Taz, Willa and Moe bring many wonderful images to my mind, and a smile to my face.

Have an interesting story behind your dog’s name? I’d love to hear it!


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