There is something about babies and pets that can turn even the most dignified person to mush. Now, I do not claim to be particularly dignified, but I have several clients who were quite dignified, but they, on occasion, act very silly about their pets. One example of this is the names we give our pets. I’m not talking about official names, though I have seen a few official names that were especially memorable. I am talking about unofficial names. Often, dogs and cats have a surprising number of unofficial names. Some probably aren’t even aware of what their official name is or that they have one particular name that is the “right” one.
One of our pets that had a greater than average number of names was Bug. We got Bug from a breeder when she was about two. They had never actually named her, but they called her Stink Bug because she had some issues with potent flattulence. The kids did not feel that was a name she should be saddled with her entire life, so they decided her name would be Little Lady Lovebug. That name never really caught on, especially after she ate Gevevieve’s boots. After that, I don’t think Genevieve called her anything at all. However, Joshua was quite taken with her. So Bug was called all sorts of derivations of Bug: Buggles, Buglet, Hug a Bug, Buggle-Squggle, etc. Now Bug not only had very stinky farts, but she also had a particularly disgusting habit of eating poop: dog poop, cat poop, horse poop, you name it. She also didn’t have a particularly good bite, so the evidence of her dietary adventures tended to linger. This earned her the nickname: Poop-A Boog-a-Latte, and since I like Starbuck’s, this evolved into Grande Poop-A Boog-a-Latte. Fortunately, Bug did not speak English, so she never knew that we were constantly teasing her, and she was always happy to come to whatever name someone was calling on any particular day.
Another notable example of a pet with an excess of names is our barn cat Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy was also a rescue, and when we got him he actually DID have a name, but I think they just called him Teddy. Now, as you know the original Teddy Roosevelt was a larger than life and go-getter with a “Take no prisoners” attitude. Our Teddy is not quite so bombastic, but he does have some pretty interesting nicknames: Theodore, Teddy, Ted, TR, Fred, Freddie, Freddy Krueger, Fred Flintstone, T-adorable kitty. Sometimes, we even call him Teddy Roosevelt.
Finally, there is our cat Angus Young. He is one of the most affectionate cats, I have ever owned and our official greeter when we have new people over. Perhaps it is his personality or maybe the fact that he is always available for attention, but he has accumulated quite the list of names as well. Angus was originally named for AC/DC’s Angus Young because of the way he would roll around on his back when he was a kitten. Now, we mostly call him Angus because it is just shorter. However, he is also know as Gus, Gus Mus, Angoose, Angoose Gus Mus, Goose, Goose Moose, Goo Moo, Goo Moo Poo, and when he is particularly snuggly, Big Pile of Goo.
So, I suppose the old saying is true that dogs (and apparently cats) don’t care what you call them as long as you don’t call them late for dinner. (Or maybe they do, I have’t tried that particular nickname yet). And, as Shakespeare so eloquently put it: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” We love our pets, and one way we have of expressing this is by coming up with all sorts of ridiculous names for them. I wonder what they would call us if they could talk?