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Blue Sky

Naming the Animals: Everyday Magic, Day 516

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Natalie with Miyako when she was still a kitten

The old story goes that Eve named the animals, but we know better when it comes to what we call each species. As for me, I’ve helped name a parade of animals that have come through my home, for better or for worse, and some of these names caused great trouble or its opposite. Here are some of those namings:

  • Pinky Velvet, the cat, was named by Daniel (velvet because of how soft she was — hey, he was 6) and Natalie (pinky because she looked almost pink in a certain light). Bad name, and no wonder she grew up to be an idiot savant and psychopath (she would attack whoever was petting her after cuddling with them, but she could relieve herself in the toilet). Sad to say, the coyotes got her.

  • Nellie-Boy, another cat, found in a carpet store parking lot confused us gender-wise at first, and since the kids were reading Charlotte’s Web, Nellie it was (after one of Charlotte’s baby spiders). Gender-confusing names can lead to a world of trouble, as can moving to the country just when he entered cat puberty. He turned feral, and bad things happened.

  • Shelby Chocolate Pudding Dog ran away, but such is the way with anyone named after a dessert.

  • Judith A. (for Action-ia) Hunter, our cat, suffers from PTSD (because of an incident with Pinky Velvet), but she did serve on the board of a non-profit once, all in the name of giving other species more rights.

  • Mariah Lily Karumba Lassman, our labmation, is alive and well at age 14, but when the radio plays, “And they called the wind Mariah,” she tilts her head in approval.

  • Saulina Goldberg, a cat, seemed like Saul to us until we took her to a vet who declared, “This here is a pussy cat!” Saul became Saulina, and at that moment, stopped staring angrily at me from just under the sofa and became as affectionate as she was intelligent (and she was a genius). She lived to 20 years, and we miss her dearly.

  • Lou Lassman, a cat, was a big, loveable tabby who, despite attacking small children when he was younger, came to love the babies we brought home from the birthing center. He died around age 8, most likely from injuries from his secret life (he would regularly disappear for days, and return home in primo condition, which made us wonder if he had a second family).

  • Shay, our new dog, a labaraner, is named so because he got used to being called Dwayne at the Humane Society, and we needed a name that had that long a. We tried Wayne, Shane and Blaine but none fit, so Shay it became.

  • Miyako, our sweetheart cat, was named so because it’s Japanese for “beautiful night child” and is also obviously the name of a city in Japan. Her brother Hideki (a name that conjures strength) — who was velcroed to her often — didn’t live up to his name and disappeared in the wilds. Luckily, she’s replaced us for him in her affections.

So what have you named your animals, and what paths did these names lead them through?

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