Why do we agonize over names so much? Of course, naming a child is a big deal. A name has meaning, and it can be a link to the child’s heritage, a part of belonging. But we also take days sometimes to name an animal. Sometimes the name of an animal will pop into my head like I know who that animal is. My Christmas puppy of five years ago is named Jingle Bells and we call him Jingles for short, or if I am being affectionate with him, Jingle bellies (like the jelly beans I love). And when we got his mate the following Christmas, it only made sense to name her Bella. Jingles and Bella, yes, well.
People ask me all the time if I name my sheep. Of course. Everything on this farm has a name. The sheep are registered animals, at least the show ones. And it’s actually easier to refer to a sheep by a name rather than a number. My sheep are named along their blood or family lines. For instance, my grandson’s champion ewe lamb this year is named Mallory. Her mother’s name is Valerie (rhymes). She was born on Valentine’s Day, and her mother is Darlene, whose mother is Darla, whose mother is Spanky.(See the link from Little Rascals?) Spanky is one of our original sheep, when we decided we were really going to do this sheep thing. She is a mix of several breeds but she had a nice fleece and was an excellent mother. So we have kept every ewe lamb of that line. One of her daughters was Spring (starts with same letters) who then had Robin, who then had Phoenix whose babies all have names starting with “PH”.
So naming an animal is a fun game. The grandchildren like to name the lambs, with grandma getting right of veto. And they love to play the name game with me, saying “who is that? Who is their mother?” and hear me recite back to the original sheep and where that sheep came from.
Naming a horse is even a bigger deal. Sometimes a horse comes with a name, maybe even a registered name and then you are stuck with it. Imagine our consternation when the registered Quarter Horse came with the name Candy Honey Bunny and was used to being called Honey! Now I don’t know about others, but I reserve the name Honey for my husband and little children. And we already had a Honey Bunch, so why not Honey Bunny. We even go around singing their songs: Aw Sugar, aw Honey Bunny, you are my Candy girl.. and Sugar Pie Honey Bunch… But I must admit it gets confusing sometimes.
So my point? At least we don’t have common boring old names, like Brownie, Blackie, Spot, or Blaze. Our past Amish neighbors are not usually so creative. The vet’s computer finally spit back the names King and Prince and Queenie as indistinguishable from all the other client’s horses of that name. So next time you name your pet, please give it a name all its own. Something other than, “NO NO Bad Dog!”