Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Name Game

Among the best things in Great Dane rescue is the “name game.” Most of the dogs who come into any type of rescue are re-named in the process. I am sure the reasons for this are myriad, to greater and lesser degrees of good taste and common sense, but suffice it to say the practice is “industry standard.” Unlike humans, dogs don’t have social security numbers or licenses, so in the case of strays who wander into rescue, the naming process is an exercise of necessity.

Each time a new Dane comes into rescue, an avalanche of e-mail repartee ensues. Although latitude is given to individual foster family preference, the unspoken rule is that KK is the ultimate arbiter of names, if not good taste. Let me add this cautionary note: the name game is not necessarily just about some friendly jockeying for “naming rights.” For some of us, it comes with dire consequences. The right to name, for some, correlates directly to foster failure.

The most obvious example is our boy, Emmett. Having plucked him up quite unexpectedly as I was in the process of relieving ourselves of another foster boy, Emmett was an unanticipated passenger peering from the backseat when I looked into the rearview mirror and commented, “You look like Emmett Kelly with those big, sad eyes.” And so he remains Emmett; and so he remains here at MisFit Farm.

We picked up another boy with big, sad eyes yesterday. Thomas. Tom Tom. Tommy. Thomas-spot. He rides very well in the car. He gets along well with other dogs; if he is not greeted with appropriate ebullience, he is at least indifferent. He is a big boy with droopy jowls that hold drool and water and give his eyes a special kind of character. He is reportedly very good at helping to keep counters cleared. He is a leaner, a groaner, and a cuddler. He is slowly losing his bravado, so we expect he will soon remember to squat and pee instead of lifting his leg and causing a sprinkler effect from his extra pee-hole. He has laid claim to one or two of the dog beds scattered around the house. He has figured out the doggy door; he has discerned K is the soft-touch and I am she-who-will-be-obeyed.

And whether she will admit it or not, I can tell K has been mulling over possible alternative names.


fredwrite said...

Goddamn, that's a big dog. And I sympathize with him, for I, too, recall learning that Ami is "she-who-will-be-obeyed." Back to Thomas. A dog of that stature and stolidity looks to me like a Thomas Aquinas. But I'm afraid the dog would be rather insulted.

Anonymous said...


Considering his original name was "Pal", Thomas-Spot was a definite step in the right direction. Though that doesn't mean that there isn't a better one out there . . .


P.S. Thank you for another post. :-)

Amanda said...

I myself call him Tom-tom because everytime I have had him in the car w/ me I have been on a great adventure...either for transport or lack of good directions or final destination. Since he rides so well in the car and is the worlds best navigator I vote a name change is not in order. **unless of course that means he is destined for misfit land permanently! So did either of you calculate the teeth to tattoos ratio?

Anonymous said...

Thomas! Looking forward to meeting him soon and I the rest of the Misfit Clan! Excited. Hey registered for RID yet? Early Bird special til Feb 28th! ha:) Let's do it up. Ev.