...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


on the difficulty of naming a dog

After losing two dogs last year, our pack has changed a lot.  

After thinking long and hard about it, 
we decided that our big girl Clara would benefit 
from a playmate and a companion
close to her size and age.
When we got her, our pack was geriatric, 
and only Tucker was ever able or interested to play with her a little.

With Tucker and Bella gone, 
and Calvin, our little alpha boy, 
weighing about 100 pounds less than Clara...
(and at 15 years old with arthritis, he's not exactly a playmate...)   
 we knew it was time to find her a friend.

After a lot of searching, we found a boy who seemed like a really good fit 
 We brought him home last Saturday.

After a rough couple of days 
(and my 48 or so hours of wondering if we did the right thing,
and Bootsy being her usual positive self - thank goodness for her!), 
he's now settling in like a champ 
and seems to have found a nice place in our pack.

The name he had been given by the Rescue group was Tiny Tim / Timmy.  
He knows the name and responds to it.

We didn't particularly love the name, but we could have lived with it.
 It felt like a dilemma -- is it right to change his name 
when he's had to get used to so many changes and new things... 

Ultimately we decided it was okay 
and that he could have a new name
for his new life.
So, the name games began.
Almost every conversation we've had this week 
has been tinged with the name-dilemma.   

Normal conversation, followed by... 'What do you think of xyz?"
Driving somewhere, seeing a sign, "Hey... that could be a good name..."

Mostly it was me.  Doing my usual...
(i.e. over the top, obsessively thorough exhaustive searching and thinking...)

I spent hours combing through websites to find the right name.  
I looked at star names, flower and tree names, mythological names, 
and characters from favorite novels
while Bootsy looked at
favorite artists, writers, composers, etc.

We've been drowning in a sea of possible names. 
I've asked friends to take a poll with their families to come up with names.
I've asked kids at my school to think of names.

I made big lists and then medium lists and then smaller and smaller lists,
spanning from Albert to Zola.

( Yes, clearly I have traits of obsessive-compulsiveness.)

I've asked him ("Timmy")
 to give us clues about the names he liked --
to look up, stand up, give his paw, some kind of sign...

Mostly, he didn't seem to care.  
He would blink his eyes 
or just go back to sleep. 

So much more easy going than moi.

I've looked at him and said the names over and over
to see what fits him. 
Maybe I'm just over the top, but I think names are a big deal.  
There's a lot in a name.  You want it to fit.
You want it to sound right.
You want it to feel right.
You want it to represent the essence of the being as much as possible.
In the end, it feels like such a tremendous responsibility and honor.
To give a name to a being.

And there are so many good names to choose from.
But which one is he

Bootsy, in all of her wisdom, 
said that naming can feel forced or unnatural at first
but then it just becomes normal.
The name will fit him and he'll fit the name. 


It helped to get to know him a little bit more this week...

In a week's time, we've come to see that he's devoted.  
He follows us everywhere.  
He's loving and playful...  clumsy and goofy, too.  
A shaggy joker.  Sometimes it really looks as if he's smiling.  
He's very, very sweet.  

You can tell he's been through a lot, 
and that he has some healing to do,
and he's already doing it.  
So, after all of our laboring, 
Timmy finally got his new name this morning.

Without further ado, a hearty welcome to our new boy, Huck!

Knowing our preponderance for creating oodles of nicknames and terms of endearment
Huck probably won't be just Huck for long.
He'll be Huckie.  Huckie Bear.  Huckleberry.
Huckster.   And who knows what else...!

Hooray for Huck!

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