Baby Names

For the last 36 hours or so I’ve been totally consumed with baby names. Not for a human baby, thank God, but for a new puppy. (And as for baby names, my son Julian wasn’t named until he was five days old. We were still in the hospital post-section, and every time the shift changed the nurse coming on would say “Thought of a name yet? How ’bout Mike?”) It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought of a name, then as now, I had lists of them. It’s just that I felt like I had to weigh every connotation, every possible negative association.

How can it be so hard to name a dog, though, you wonder. Well, it’s like this. This puppy is an American Foxhound, and she will be a show dog. Before she is registered in the American Kennel Club, she has to be registered with The Chase. The Chase only allows for 20 letters in a name– and the kennel name and a space take up nine of those slots. All of our Foxhounds are named after songs. To add to the challenge, the puppy was born on my late father’s birthday, and about 15 miles from his home in Missouri. So I’d like to name her after a jazz tune that Dad was fond of.

Currently in the running: Take Five, Satin Doll, Stardust, Paper Moon, Moon River, At Last, Avalon, Blue Skies, After Hours, Night Train and Flying Home.

And then, more importantly, there’s the call name. You know, what you yell when she’s chewing on your slipper or what you coax or hum or make up little rhymes about. It’s nice if they go together in some way — like our dog Ch. Sundevil’s Song of the South, who is known around the place as “Susanna.” You know, “Oh, Susanna, oh don’t you cry for me.”  (She’s not Chase-registered, so we had more letters to work with.)

Of course, the name can’t be one already attached to a dog here, or a dog we’ve had, or a dog my husband had, or dogs my mother has, or the dogs of aunts or cousins or friends . . . Nor can it rhyme with any of those names. Or sound a lot like them. (Dolly and Della in one household is tough.) In my 40 years with dogs– well, there are a lot of names. Also, we can’t use names of my husbands former girlfriends, so that negates great dog names like Lucy and Jessie, or Kiko or Penny or Merrilee. (Conversely, I won’t be naming dogs Charles or Bob or Richard– but that wasn’t likely anyway.)

This is getting to be a bit of a grind, this naming business (we have two stray kittens that also need names– we need to just plaster something on them– George and Gracie, Nick and Nora, Beavis and Butthead) but it is still more interesting than my diet and exercise, or lack of.

I’m so bored with this. I’m tired of not moving forward. The weather has been beastly hot and that doesn’t make me feel particularly motivated. And I’m tired, from schlepping out to Missouri to pick up the nameless wonder. This too shall pass, I hope.

Sunday’s Target Number: 56. Steps: 5551. For breakfast: steak and egg burrito, orange juice. For lunch: Cheeseburger, iced coffee. Nut clusters. For dinner: green salad, Lobster mac and cheese, half a blondie.

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