Sunday, 9 August 2009

choosing names for our dogs

I've noticed many dogs around here with names that end in an 'ee' sound - Penny, of course, and Lucy, Darcy, Lucky - it seems to be a trend. I've wondered whether it's because, here in Australia, we tend to use that sound as the diminutive of a word. For instance, we say footy for football, barbie for barbecue, prezzie for present, and so on. Maybe the doggie (there I go!) names are a way of treating our dogs as pets, as familiar and comfortable animals to have around.

But I've just read that the most popular name (at least in the US) is Max - and that's a name I've heard around here. An article on Dog Blog reports the current trend in the US and the UK for giving dogs human-sounding names, as a recognition that they are part of the family. The article says
“Most people nowadays believe their animals feel and think — that, like us, they are conscious beings. That’s a far cry from olden days when dogs and cats had to sleep in the barn,” says anthropologist Mary Thurston, who has studied pets’ influence on the human psyche.

“It’s only logical that we would give them names traditionally reserved for humans, reflecting this new status as family members.”
A Toronto-based blogger, Michael Murray, is quoted as saying traditional dog names such as Fido or Spot "strip the animal of character." (I can't find a link to this blogger anywhere on the Net, so I can't link to him.)

I don't really agree with this opinion, as it's not only dogs that are named by characteristics such as loyalty (Fido) or visible characteristics, such as spots. What about the typical Australian habit of calling a redhead Bluey - or the naming of human babies to reflect a wish for the newborn child?

A quick glance at a baby naming list reveals:
Ethan = strong, firm
Matthew = gift of God
Isaac = he will laugh
Alyssa = noble, kind

I don't know how many children grow into their names, but perhaps it's time we took more care in choosing for puppies.

We named Penny because she was a copper-colored puppy. It seems we might have considered more deeply, because her name means weaver, duck.

And she sure does like ducks. To look at, you understand - not to chase.


The Schnauzer Brothers said...

Hi Penny - this is an interesting post. Our post today refers to our names - our humans wonder if we grew into our names or if they were just really lucky at chosing the right names for us!

We only discovered that Max was appartently the most popular name after Max had been named - but we've never met another dog called Max. It just suits him so well - and he has loads of nicknames, 'Maxini' as he's a great escape artist, 'Maxidian Order' is his sci-fi name (we're still not really sure where that one came from!), 'Maxamillion' when we;re trying to sound posh at the park and 'Maximus' when he's being really naughty!

We LOVE the name JD - it stands for 'Just Dog'. JD is the most laid back dog ever so JD suits him superbly.

No matter what you call your dog after one day you can't imagine them with a different name!

Schnauzer snuggles - JD and Max.

Sue said...

I think you're on to something. I had to come up with names for all eight puppies in our litter and we kept six of the pups. When I think about it, they are living up to their names.

parlance said...

JD and Max, thanks for the comment regarding how well your names suit you. Regarding Max being sometimes known as Maxidian, as his sci-fi name, I couldn't resist the challenge. is it from the Obsidian Order in Star Trek?

parlance said...

Sue, thanks for the comment. I'm glad to hear from you, because now I've discovered your blog!

Noah the Airedale said...

Lucy was actually Suzie so we changed it to sound similar but in hindsight we could have changed it to anything. I just wasn't keen on Suzie at the time.

Tess came with her name.

We chose Noah & Willow simply because we like the names.

Bryan wants to call our next dog Snarles

happy said...

I'm in the 'ee' category too hehe. LS would tell you that I certainly didn't grow into my name though.

parlance said...

Noah, I LOVE Snarles Barkley, that is so canine! I'm thinking, thinking, thinking, now... Growles Throatly; Sniffes Mitely. Oh, you've inspired me!

parlance said...

Oh, Happy. You do suit your name wonderfully, if only because it makes me happy to read your blog.

Honey the Great Dane said...

What an interesting post!! I have to say - I don't agree about the name not giving the animals charactter or identity - I think it's the other way around and the animals give identity to the names - ie. make them seem "right"!

Besides, I feel that giving animals human names strips them of their own identity as pets/animals with the right to have unique names. ie. they have to be named like humans to be shown to be a part of the family? Why? Why can't they be called Spot and still be a cherished part of the family? They shouldn't have to be substitute children or humans! :-)

I personally like to name all my animals "food" names and to have a link between the names, hence "Honey and Lemon" when we got our first puppy & kitten - sadly we have lost Lemon now but she fit her name perfectly: a tart little minx! Couldn't imagine her named anything else! But you needed HER personality to give character to the name of a fruit, not the other way round! And Honey has turned out to be a very sweet dog - a honey of a dog. It also had a nice meaning because it's a warm drink that's supposed to make you feel better when you are poorly - and it's nice to have them as 2 parts of a whole, which is how we always thought of them.

We tried to adopt another adult cat a few years ago and I named her Pepper - to go with the Honey & Lemon...we almost had a salad dressing! :-) But sadly, the 2 cats fought too badly and we couldn't keep Pepper...

Now I'm thinking when we finally get a cat again, I'm going to have to try and find a suitable name that would still fit with "Honey"...tall order!

Hey - I never knew that Penny was named because of her colour! I always thought she was named after the human name (Penny - Penelope) - see, I think I like your reasoning much better - much more original and unique!

You know the Chinese like to name their animals things that are "auspicious" because they are superstitious like that - like I had an uncle who named his dogs "Money" and "Prosperity" - (not kidding!) - sadly, that didn't seem to make much difference to his financial status!!! :-)


parlance said...

Hsin-Yi, I once knew a family who didn't name their new daughter for a few months, because they were waiting to see which name would suit her. I forget what they called her in the end, but it was a beautiful name.

Regarding your uncle, maybe the dogs did bring him relative prosperity - he might have been very unlucky and poor if he hadn't had them, lol.

Life With Dogs said...

Our dogs all have ridiculous names - not a Max in the house! :)

parlance said...

Life With Dogs, I don't think you've actually said the names of your dogs on the blog, have you? By the way, I like the cat-in-a-box meal. The marinated cat is fun, too. Hopefully that's a Photoshopped one!

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