My father says that if you want a really good name for a dog, you should find something with as few syllables as possible, to make repeated calling of the name less tedious, and that it should be composed of the sort of sounds which carry farthest and loudest when screamed.
My father wants to have a dog named ‘Dammit’.
I can’t say it’s a bad name. Can you imagine the looks of confusion on people’s faces when your puppy is jumping all over you slobbering and giving you wet dog kisses and you laughingly keep saying Dammit, down! Get off me Dammit! C’mon, this isn’t funny Dammit! I mean, really. Who gets that upset over some cute little wet dog kisses that they have to cuss their dog out? Nobody. That’s who. *Confusion ensues*
Or imagine this – your dog has gotten off its leash in the park and you’re running after him, but he thinks it’s a game, so with his tail wagging and his head cocked cheekily over his shoulder, he bounds away from you at an increasingly volatile speed. Dammit, geeet back here! Sit, Dammit! SIT! I’m laughing just imagining this. Why are you swearing at your dog like that mister? He’s just playing… and the kids in the park are all staring in horror. The kids, of course, really are staring, and you’re breathing so hard that your chuckles come out like raspy barks, but it’s just so damn funny…
When I was a kid the first dog my family owned was a Chesapeake Bay retriever . She was magnificent. Her name was Brown Dog. My father tells me my older brother named him when he was just learning how to talk (I’m pretty sure he was just pointing and saying brown dog, browwwnn dogggg) and my father probably laughed to himself and said Yeah man, Brown Dog! Either way it didn’t occur to me until I was about 8 years old that Brown Dog was a strange name for a brown dog. The confused and amused looks of strangers had always been lost on me.
It finally clicked about the time that we picked up a stray dog. She had been routinely making surprise appearances at our neighbor’s house, and our neighbor was getting sick of it. Flamio was our neighbor’s name. So one day I guess he comes out with a shot gun when the dog comes snooping around, and my father (or mom?) was all hang on, why would you do that? I’ll take her, and Flamio was all fine get her outta here and then we ‘owned’ a dog. What did they name her, you ask? Her official name was ‘Lucky Flamio didn’t shoot you’. Yes. That was her name. We called her Lucky for short, once we realised that that wasn’t a proper name. At least by this point we were old enough to have a sense of humor about it and get that it was a great joke.
We later also briefly took in a stray who my father talked about naming Strange after Pat McManus’ alleged dog.
Over the years we would come up with truly fantastic names for dogs. Mostly the criteria for a fantastic dog name was that it would be something absolutely hilarious to shout in public, while chasing a puppy through the park. Dynamite. Cat. Bubba. (We named one of the strays we had for a while Bubba. It was fantastic.) Earthquake. Hurricane. Woof. Meow-Meow. Barf. (Yes, we were a classy bunch…) Woodie. Chewie. Bubbles.
That list goes on and on. We thought we were hilarious. Maybe if you just visualise a grown man tearing through a park after a happy little runaway pup shouting any of these names, maybe then you’ll see why we cracked ourselves up all that much.