I needed a distraction this week from, well, you know, so I started thinking about the nicknames we give to our dogs, and why we use them. We all grow up with nicknames for ourselves,our friends, and family, which can be supportive and fun (Star, Champ), or demeaning (Four Eyes, Fatso). I found this article by Marlene Ritchie to be an interesting summary of all the ways that nicknames can reflect intimacy, belonging (or not), affection, and bullying. As such, they can have a big effect on a child so labeled by their peers–either for good or for bad.
What then, about the nicknames that we give our dogs? I thought it’d be fun to play the nickname game, and think about the names we give to our dogs.
Here are our nicknames for our two Border Collies:
MAGGIE: Maggie/Maggie, Maggie Mae, Magdeline, Miss Maggie, Miss Magdeline, Princess Maggie, and The Divine Miss M.
Can’t miss the trend, can you? First, that we adore Maggie, second, that we spoil her, and third, that she appears to consider it her due. Maggie is oh so very sensitive, a la The Princess and the Pea, (thus “Princess Maggie”). She also seems to assume that endless belly rubs are part and parcel of being royalty. (Thus, yet again, “Princess Maggie.)
SKIP: Skip/Skip, Skipperkee, Skipperdoodle, Skipperdeedoodah, Mr. Skip, and, when he first played like a jerk with Maggie, D___Head.
These nicknames, especially the second, third, and fourth, perfectly reflect Skip’s exuberant, joyful, and sometimes goofy nature. His very name actually is a nickname–he came as Ace but we renamed him Skip because I like the name Skip better for a dog, and, wait for it . . . he actually skips. I’ve never seen a dog do the equivalent of skipping and/or clicking his heels, but Skip does it when he’s overwhelmed with happiness, usually when he’s about to go do something fun. He’s also a charming idiot, being the dog who has created, single-handedly, the phrase “suicide by fence”.
That last nickname, with my apologies, comes from his habit early on of slamming into Maggie full bore, face radiating with joy and exuberance, then waiting for Maggie to move forward again. He always looked so confused at why she didn’t want to keep playing. I’m happy to say Prince Maggie is as smart as she his playful, so eventually she taught him to play more politely.
Okay, your Turn! I’d love it if you told us not your dog’s or dogs’ nicknames, but why they have them. What does it say about them? About your relationship? By the way, it’s fun to keep of record of these. Here’s a post on nicknames that I did 2.5 years ago, before we got Skip, and when we still had Tootsie. Made me all gooey.
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: Easter Sunday gifted us with a beautiful sunny day, although a tad nippy in the morning. (About 10 degrees F below freezing.) But there is some color outside, though you have to look closely. Mostly it’s brown and grey except for greening grass, but some of my small bulbs are blooming.
This photo of Scilla required lying down on the ground and using my close up lens:
Here are a few of the crocus that the rabbits didn’t eat:
There’s not much springier around here than new lambs! Here’s from BYB Stockdogs outside of Portage where we often go to practice on bigger fields (mine is tiny, tiny compared to even a small trial field). These three lambs were sunning in a soft, comfy bed of straw, and are pretty much the definition of cute.
We have an Easter tradition with friends David and Julie of dying and hunting for eggs (boys against girls). We had a great time, as usual, I highly recommend letting yourself be a kid again when you can. Here are our eggs:
And here is the best hiding place ever: (If I do say so myself.) I didn’t get a photo of the entire room (darn), but this egg was “hidden” in full view on the living room rug. It was in the middle of the room, in complete and utter plain sight. But who looks there for a hidden egg? The boys searched and searched, practically stepping on it over and over again. They couldn’t find it until we gave them a clue. Which was hard, because we were laughing so hard we could barely talk.
So, it’s to you! Nicknames, and why. [And . . . how do you channel being a kid again?]
[One last thing I feel compelled to say: I do indeed need distractions from the events of the world, but spend some of my time and resources doing what I can to try to help. We all have to navigate what’s happening around us the best we can; I’ve just found that I have to do something every day/week to help others, but also to help myself; otherwise you’d find me licking my paws in a corner somewhere.]