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a rose by any other name

10 January 2011

Did Shakespeare own a dog? Do you think he had any trouble coming up with a name that he, Anne and the kids all agreed on? This is the guy, after all, who is credited with the coining of hundreds of words in use today, some of which have probably been proudly worn over the centuries by dogs.

luna's puppy picture

WANTED: a name for this face

For three people (me, MW and OD) who haven’t created a single word that has entered the popular lexicon, coming up with a name was a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Naming a dog is very similar to naming a human, with the exception that they’re never going to have to spell it in person or over the phone. They might receive mail addressed to them but it not likely they’re ever going to be teased in dog school about it. I think the litmus test is how it sounds when you’re yelling the name at a dog park or when out playing in the surf.

Plumbing the Depths for Inspiration

I’ll be honest. We struggled. We tried free association. Names from Jane Austen novels. Greek and Roman goddesses. (I was frankly stunned at how many OD knew but Rick Riordan and Percy Jackson share some of the credit for that). Flowers (Violet and Daisy) and world geography (Kalahari, Odessa, Sahara, Geneva, and Cyprus) were tapped.

Our list grew to more than 70. We slept on the better ones. We culled. The list shrank below 15. We sampled the remainder on friends and family. The list grew anew as distant friends emailed suggestions. We became merciless, finally scything the list down to three: Miss Daisy, Phoebe and Luna.

The End of the Road for “Purple Dog”

Another 12 hours of reflection, we selected Luna, primarily inspired by Luna Lovegood and the magical world of wrackspurts and nargles.

“You’re no longer Purple Dog. From now on you’ll be known as Luna. Welcome to the program.”

Luna would be her call name. Her American Kennel Club (AKC) name is too aristocratic to mention. I will say that it makes more sense than Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii , which gained so much notoriety in 2008.

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