What’s in a Name?
I’m getting a new puppy, which is very exciting, but choosing a name is hard! I don’t think that I’ve ever struggled so much to decide. I’ve trawled names of characters from my favourite books and films, from folklore and mythology. I’ve practised calling long and short versions but nothing has quite fallen into place.
The 1st dog who was just mine was called Timmy – from the Famous Five – well I was only 10! He suited it though – a loyal companion who I told my secrets to, who shared my adventures and who was my best friend.
Next was Merry, a merry cocker spaniel, short for Meriadoc Brandybuck – a hobbit character in the Lord of the Rings – because of the big hairy feet. It’s not been a bad fit, but Merry’s character is, if I’m honest, less Meriadoc Brandybuck and more Samwise Gamgee. Stoical, steadfast, stubborn but loyal to a fault and forgiving. Merry has been with me through several phases of dog training fashion and enjoyed his agility despite my less than organised handling skills. He’s even managed a few firsts, at small shows. Like Samwise he had a grudging tolerance of his more adventurous and challenging family – that would be Darcy!
I re-homed Darcy when he was about 6 months old. Before I picked him up the plan was to call him Pippin (short for Peregrine Took – Meriadoc’s cousin), but I didn’t much like him at first, I just didn’t want to leave him where he was. And so Darcy he became – because he was dark and dashing (dashing here, dashing there, dashing pretty much everywhere) like Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pride and Prejudice fame. The problem was, as I grew to love Darcy, as he wheedled his way into my heart, he became more like Pippin: well-meaning and mischievous, prone to get into trouble but loveable and brave (when he was shown the way). So when I lost Darcy to cancer, he was a bit of Darcy and a lot of Pippin. So that name, which was always up my sleeve for another dog has rather unexpectedly been posthumously taken.
So the names chosen for my last two canine companions have turned out to not quite suit the very different personalities of the dogs that carried them. What’s in a name? Quite a lot it seems. A description of a character to become, an expectation to grow into and something to encapsulate a future dream.