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What's In A Name?

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Posted on 02-16-2017

What’s in a Name?

I have been in the veterinary industry for 25 years and during that time I have had the distinct and amusing pleasure of calling out some of the best names for pets as I bring them from reception into the exam room. I would like to sincerely thank the clients with the greatest sense of humour who put a smile on our faces as we go to call our patient’s name; “Eenie Beenie, come on in.”  Seriously, I don’t think human nurses have nearly as much fun. “John come on in” just doesn’t fetch the same looks as when “Megatron” a tiny Teacup Yorkie marches forward!  Or, how about Mr. Mullet who named his dog “Harry” so when we go to call him in its “Harry Mullett.”

There are some names that require a dictionary and a degree in Astrophysics. Betelgeuse was one such name. After I looked squarely and sideways at the screen for a moment I proudly exclaimed “Beetlejuice!” and then laughed at my own genius! Then I got a schooling from Dr. Portch who pronounced it in the proper Arabic form “betel- goyz -zee”.  She informed me that Betelgeuse is the ninth-brightest star in the night sky and second-brightest in the constellation of Orion.  In Arabic, it means "the axilla of Orion".  Turns out the owners and I were on the same page and had no intellectual knowledge of its true meaning. I’d like “What is in the armpit of Orion for $100 please Alex.”  Dr. Portch can tackle Jeopardy any day.

I also enjoy names that are derived from fictional characters like Wall-E, which if you saw the Pixar cartoon, know it stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter- Earth Class. This is of course the perfect name for a Beagle with his nose to the ground lifting every ounce of grub that he can find. This also goes for “Lunchbox” the black lab that eats everything!

I don’t want to forget about cats either. They are known for their motors and so several clever owners have named their purring pusses after loud outboard engines like “Evinrude” .

Finally, I must give a shout out to Dr. Portch and her husband David who have done a fine job bringing the US Cavalry into their home with their cats Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, Colonel Stonewall Jackson, and Commander William Tecumseh Sherman. By the time they are finished calling everyone downstairs for dinner, 2 of the cats have already polished off their meals and fully groomed themselves!

For my own cats, I had to come up with something equally distinguished. My mom wanted a pair of cats named Tom and Jerry which I found utterly too lame to live with. So, they were legally and formally changed to Tomassi Tomassini and Jeremiah Bullfrog. And my polydactyl boy with all his extra toes… well we cleverly named him Awesome Pawsome.


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