Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's In a Name?

Several years ago my wife and I were talking and she was sharing a tragic story about a lost puppy. It seems a neighbor of ours that owns a contracting company was working on a house in the woods down a very rural road. While my neighbor was at the job site cleaning up his tools after a long day, a dachshund puppy came walking out of the woods. The puppy ran up and was licking the man’s hands and climbing over his work boots. My neighbor picked the puppy up and walked into the woods looking for the owners. There wasn’t another house within view – the puppy was lost.

My neighbor brought the puppy home but couldn’t keep the puppy for long. It seems his wife is allergic to a few animal furs so they kept it for a few days while the looked for a home. One morning my wife started telling me this story about a lost puppy and I said ABSOLUTELY NOT to the idea of taking the dog in. We had two dogs already – three would be INSANE – was she CRAZY????

That morning as I was driving to work I saw the man outside with the tiny dog in the front yard. I turned the car around and went back home and said to my wife, “I guess it wouldn’t hurt if we just went and looked at it”. Before I continue I should tell you that people who know me know that I LOVE puppy breath. In fact, I’ll go to a pet store today to get my puppy-breath-crack-fix. It’s intoxicating. Have you ever noticed that puppies and helium have the same effect on people? By that I mean that both of those things seem to make you talk in the stupidest high-pitched voice that you would otherwise never speak in. Strange how we do that – ok, back to the story.

After holding this puppy for 15 seconds while getting licked and smelling his puppy breath, I ate my own words – we took the puppy. How could you not? Puppies are cute and dachshund puppies are the cutest of them all!

We decided to keep the dog for a couple of days and observe him before we named him. I thought this would be a ‘no-brainer’ but the kids wanted to name him Joey because he hopped around in the grass like a kangaroo and what is a baby kangaroo called? Joey. I on the other hand wanted to name him Woody – like the dachshund on Disney’s Toy Story movie. We were at an impasse, I hated Joey and they thought Woody was ‘dumb’. The only way to solve this was democratically so we voted. Each of us put in 3 names. The rules were you had to use three different names. The kids put in Joey, Peanut & Buttface (can you guess which one my son contributed?). I put in Woody, “The Woodster” and “Sir Woodmeister”. When “The Woodster” was drawn from the hat by a neutral party (the wife), the kids revolted. They said my 3 weren’t different because all of them would result in him being called ‘Woody’ for short. I was disqualified for ballot tampering.

We then moved onto something a bit more fund and suggested the dog decide his own name. It went like this:

Me: “We’ll write down each name on a separate piece of paper. That means we’ll have Joey, Peanut and Woody each on a piece of paper. I think we can all agree that Buttface isn’t in the running. Next we’ll ball them up and place them a few inches apart on the floor. Whichever one the puppy picks up or chews will be his name. Do we all agree?”

Kids: “YEAH!” (they were really into this idea)

At this time the kids left to go find the puppy while I prepared the pieces of paper in the kitchen. I could hear the kids running back with the puppy so I quickly returned to the living room and balled the papers up and put them on the floor. I suggested to my oldest daughter that she hold the puppy just inches above each piece of paper and let him sniff them so that each name got a fair evaluation. The kids agreed this was a good idea. My daughter then put the puppy near the floor and let him go. He barely had all 4 paws on the floor before he took off and made a bee-line for the ball of paper in the middle. He didn’t just sniff the paper, he began to EAT it! We had to grab him and hold his mouth open and pull the paper out. Soggy with dog saliva we un-rolled it and despite the running ink you could clearly see it said WOODY!

The kids were heartbroken. About that time my wife came into the kitchen and after a quick glance she was immediately upset by something. She said loudly, “OK WHO LEFT THE HAM ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER!” My oldest daughter (in gifted with a genius IQ) pointed at me and said, “Dad! You cheated, you put ham juice on yours!” I said, “Alright Nancy Drew, you caught me!”

I then picked Joey up and continued to smell his puppy breath. I still think Woody would’ve been a cool name.

No comments: