What’s in a Name?

It’s now a week and two days since I picked up our puppy.

When I was a youngster, my parents always had a lot of dogs. When I say a lot, I mean a pack. We had four or five all the time while I was at home. I think my mother counted once and found she had owned thirty-six dogs in her life. It was a source of pride to her.

In my time, I remember Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boxers, a Basset Hound, Collies, Black Labs, mongrels and Chihuahuas – and a Bernese Mountain Dog and two Rhodesian Ridgebacks. I loved them all, but especially the Ridges and the Bernese.

When I managed to persuade my wife that since I was living at home we could aspire to dogs, she was reluctant at first. She came from a family where a single cat was considered adequate as a pet. Strange household, clearly. Still, she was happy enough to consider dogs – on the proviso that one would be a Ridgeback. She, being new to the idea of dog ownership, and having had bad experiences (as so many do) with a German Shepherd, was only happy to think of a dog she had met and loved: our second Ridgeback.

Over time I’ve been immensely fortunate to have owned two more Bernese Mountain Dogs. They are adorable: big, fluffy bears who love their owners and children, but which are good guards. They will protect their family no matter what. I miss them hugely. However, I’ve been lucky enough to have a Ridgeback too. Our last was a wonderful lady, big, bold, calm enough, never got into a fight, and a lovely companion. Sadly she died last year, so what did we do?


I’ve put comments up on Facebook and a few photos (go find me on FB or Twitter – or even Instagram if you want to see more) and I keep getting questions: “What is her name?”

I’m afraid I cannot put my pooch’s name on the web. There are several very good reasons for this. While I have a lot of very good friends out there in inter web space land, there are many more people who are not friends, who are people I will probably never meet, and who are not necessarily very pleasant people. Some of these folks have, in the past, made threats against me. No, not particularly imaginative threats, nor particularly believable. But it has happened.

Others, clearly the more deranged type, see my face and the words “Author” beside it, and assume that I must be a multi-millionaire by virtue of the fact that I have written several books. They assume that they could persuade me to share my money with them, if they were to give me the right incentive. Some could consider kidnapping as a viable means of persuasion.

Such people are, I am sure, few and far between. However, I used to work in the computer industry, I spend much of my life working with plots that involve the nastier aspects of human misbehaviour, and I keep abreast of the crimes and frauds committed.

For that reason I do not ever willingly give out the names of my children (until they’re of age) or dogs. It’s not because, dear Reader, I don’t trust you – but when information is uploaded to the web, you can never be sure where it’ll end up.

Someone who wanted to kidnap a puppy would find it easy to call out a pooch’s name and have the enthusiastic mutt run into their arms. They may regret capturing a hound that has more teeth than a ruddy alligator later, when the flesh is all but ripped from their hands, but I’d still have lost my dog.

So, please don’t ask what the pup’s name is. I hate to disappoint with a refusal!

15 Responses to “What’s in a Name?”
  1. Old Trooper says:

    Your rationale is clear and prudent. The more I read bizarre things on FB, etc., the more defensive I am.


    • Cheers, OT. As you know, there are some strange people in internet land, and some folks have had their dog’s stolen just because they have advertised their home address, photos of their dogs, and the pooches’ names!


  2. Lindsey Russell says:

    Oh what a shame – but I totally get your explanation. Looks like she’s testing the boundaries/teething, or both. How is ‘spotty dog’ getting on with her?


    • Spotty is not happy yet. She’s coming round, but it won’t be until we can get them both out on the common playing together that she’ll get to appreciate having a playmate. Got to wait a while for the injections to work first.


      • Lindsey Russell says:

        You might find a’Dog Off’ gadget from ‘Pets at Home’ a helpful bite inhibitor :-)


      • A loud noise works pretty well. The problem is the usual one, of her playing and the victim not necessarily realising until the fangs are deeply embedded, at which point the victim squeaks and tries to tug the hand, leg, arm, throat away, and the punctures become rips! She’s a lovely hound, though. Beautiful, good natured, and very playful!


  3. Lindsey Russell says:

    Was very lucky with my Border Collie, she loved the new BC pup straight off. New pup was from a working mum so raised in a barn and not house trained, and was lucky there too, she copied everything my older dog did so after they ate it was, ‘Now we go outside and do our necessaries kiddo’.Don’t think my present dog would be so accepting, being a terrier he’s a bit feisty and tends to ‘guard’ what he considers is his.


  4. April Taylor says:

    Absolutely understand. I am continually amazed by people who think that because we have published books we are millionaires. I am also very conscious of illegitimate thieves who would love to use my blind rescue retriever as dog-fight fodder. He never goes past the inner garden gate without me for that reason. And, probably like you, they would have to get to him through me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jack Eason says:

    Here are a few suggestions as she is a Rhodesian Ridgeback – Dula a Xhosa name meaning Expensive. Indla a Xhosa name meaning Autumn. Mosa a Sotho name meaning Grace. Pula a Sotho name meaning Rain. ;)


  6. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Meet the new addition (with attitude and sharp puppy teeth) to the Jecks’ household. ;)


  7. Sensible, it’s amazing the way that society works……… out on my own I’m an easy target for all kinds of salesmanship (& not) etc……….. with a 6ft 4in escort – no one bats an eyelid & I go where I please.


  8. Lindsey Russell says:

    They are adorable (teeth aside) at that age but such time wasters, you’ll have to be strict with yourself or you’ll get no work done :-)


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