Wednesday, 12 April 2006

Pet Sounds

After I saw the film Pulp Fiction, I decided I wanted a dog called Ezekiel. A great, big bullmastiff or wolfhound (I’ve never known if wolfhounds historically hunt wolves or are, in fact, a hound with wolf-like characteristics) to take on long walks and bark at squirrels. This then evolved into the need for a friend for Ezekiel and I decided that a Corgi named Zucchini would be perfect as then I could have a pair of complementary sized dogs with the nicknames Zeek and Zuuc.

My imaginary dogs never really progressed any further than that as I was about 17 at the time and had other things on my mind but I think the need to create them in the first place stems from the lack of naming opportunities that had occurred in my life. I was too young to name our first dog, Ky, and somehow Jo got to name Bonnie, the cat we got when we lived in Eastbourne. Then, later on, Mum and Jo picked out Tarquin and when I complained that they had chosen a terrible name that would lead to the poor mutt getting teased by the local dogs I was told that as he was a rescued greyhound, Tarquin was the name that he had when they picked him up. I didn’t find out the truth for another four years; Jo and Mum, knowing that I would hate the name, sketched out the “He had the name when we got him” lie prior to speaking with me and conspired to keep me in the dark as to the origin of the unlucky animal’s real name*.

Then, when we took in a cat during our first year of living together, Robyn and I resisted naming the creature as we were students and couldn’t possibly look after a pet but after a while of calling it Her, She and The Cat, I buckled and came up with Tandem (named for the two stripes running across her back). As we had suspected, the moment Tandem became Tandem, the chances of her going to the SPCA dropped to zero.

I tried the same no-name-for-you trick last November when Robs rescued a kitten from an air vent at an abandoned house, as I didn’t think it was a good idea to take in another mouth to feed just a month before we were due to be married. I was, of course, unsuccessful and after the little monster got into the crawl space in the kitchen I christened him Fisher.+

I think the real waste is when regular human names are used for animals. You’ll never be able to call your kids Captain Applejack or Brolly so why waste your opportunity by calling the dog Max? I’m also against the use of puns as this is something you’re going to have to live with for years and I doubt even gems like Chairman Meow are still funny the thousandth time. So after finally getting the chance, I’ve decided that naming your pet is one of the best parts and I am actually looking forward to the day that Robyn gets the West Highland terrier that she’s always wanted. I think he’ll be called Franklin but I’m not entirely sure why.

* It was the equally horrific Flash incase you were wondering.

+ Its only fair to note that I have come to love the Fisher King and am glad he finally made it out from behind the kitchen wall.

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