Adam’s First Task

March 28, 2008

Since I’m no longer able to hide my pets’ names, I would like to explain how they acquired them. 

first night indoors

On March 18th (“A Cat Called Intrep-pawed”), when I explained our street kitty’s name, I was very close to telling the truth. It was a good story. The true story is just as good. The boy we babysit, Jack, wanted to call the fluffball not “The Cat Who Looks at Everything” but “The Curious Kitten.” And I, wanting both to respect the boy’s suggestion and to shorten the handle, abbreviated the name to Cuca, pronounced as in the first half of “kookaburra”, but standing for CUrious CAt. That is the true story of our cat’s name.

nap time

Our Cardigan Welsh Corgi’s name is shorter but his naming story is longer.

 We were still keeping the puppy plans a secret from Jack when his aunt and 12-year-old cousin Jon came from England for a visit. We all met in a cafe with Jack’s mum while Jack was in school.

At the time of Jon’s visit, we weren’t even sure whether we would be getting a girl or a boy puppy. To complicate matters, since our Cardi is a purebred, he or she would need both an everyday name and a registered name. We further learned that every litter has a theme. Our breeder required that the pup’s registered name, like those of its littermates, include some kind of gemstone — unless, of course, it came from the differently-themed other litter which was born a week later. And it was a good idea to have an alternate registered name suggestion, in case the one we wanted already existed for another dog somewhere else. That’s, lemme think, four registered and one common name for each sex — TEN NAMES?

Before the kaffeeklatsch, I had worked out all the necessary registered-name possibilities for a girl dog, and short-listed five or six Welsh everyday names for each sex. Jon’s mum suggested “Dyllis” as a girl’s name. I added it to the list, and we discussed whether to call the kibble “Dyllis filler” and other serious grownup topics while Jon sat in silence, thumbing the Minerals and Precious Stones book I had handed him. “Try and find a stone that would suit a boy puppy” were my instructions.

After several minutes of quiet contemplation, Jon presented a page in the book. It was a mineral I’d never heard of before, in a lovely shade of blue.

“Kyanite!” I beamed. “Well, that settles the boy’s name, then!”

On the boys’ side of my shortlist I had “Cai”, pronounced with a hard c, rhyming with sky, meaning “to rejoice”. A gemstone-litter male would be named Cai, then. Later we worked out his registered name, “[Kennel name] Kyanite so fair”, a pun on “Cai, a knight so fair.” Later still, our breeder informed us that we would indeed be given one of the gemstone boys. He would be Cai, then. And that is the true story of our dog’s name.

And speaking of namings, we now have six entries for the Name-and-genderize-the-sea-turtle-stuffy contest! Contest closes March 30th at midnight (Samoan time). No purchase necessary! See my blog of March 24 for details!