Weim lives matter!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's In a Name?

Whenever a rescued dog goes to his forever home one of the decisions that needs to be made is whether he'll be given a new name or keep the name he is known as when in rescue.  As with most things, there are many differing opinions on what is best for the dog.

One view is that since the dog is starting a new life, he should also get a new name, sort of as a complete break from whatever he had gone through in his prior home.  Another idea is that since the dog has lost everything else from his past and his name is the only familiar thing he has it is best that he keeps his name.

I don't profess to know what is best for these dogs, but I have a feeling that as long as they go to a great new home they don't really care what name they go by, as long as they get the love and care they deserve.  

I have so far, with my rescue dogs, kept the names they came with and that's worked out well for us.  The only name I really wish I had changed was our first dog, our Lab mix.  Her name was Sister and sometimes it was a bit awkward to talk about having Sister in the basement or walking Sister, people might have thought I treated my family in a rather strange way. My other two dogs, my Weims, are Frankie and Rocky and those are two great names that were easy for us to adapt to and we had no thoughts of changing them.

So what's going to happen for Tonka when he goes to his new home?  We'll have to wait and see and hopefully it won't be long till we know.  I've had several people comment that Tonka is a great name and they wouldn't change it.  I don't know if they said that hoping that, in some way, it would sway me to think they'd make a great parent for Tonka or if they really loved the name.  I did not name Tonka, he came with that name from the Western PA Humane Society, so I have no particular attachment to the name.

I've been lucky enough to get to name a couple of my fosters over the years, but if they come with a name that they seem to know I don't change it, leaving that decision to their new family.  The first rescue Weim I named was a puppy picked up as a stray and found in a kill shelter in Youngstown, Ohio.  On the drive to the shelter I decided that if the reports we had were correct and she was a blue Weim that I would call her Indigo and that's how she was known throughout her time in rescue.  Her adoptive family kept the name and she is now known as Indy or Indy Sue.  Another dog I named was the rescue I had earlier this year, a 9-month-old female who was named Blue Belle by her first owner.  She seemed to have no attachment to the name and she is not a blue Weim, so the name just didn't seem right and at our home she became known as Fiona and she has retained that name to this time.

I've given some thought to what I might call Tonka if we had decided to keep him and so I'll share a couple of my ideas here.  

Since Tonka's favorite squeaky toy has been his stuffed chicken and we spent a lot of time tugging and playing fetch with that toy there's a chance it would have had an impact on a new name for Tonka.  While playing with Tonka and the chicken the song, "Sic Him on a Chicken" kept going through my head.  If you've not heard the song, it's a cute country-type song by The Zac Brown Band. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcbdSpjOiyg 
I thought a good name for Tonka might be Zac Brown, of course, calling him Zac.

Another idea I've had for a name for Tonka comes from the fact that part of my job involves working for the Pirates and attending the majority of their home games.  This year the team has taken on the Zoltan "Z" sign as a symbol of great things happening and it's worked like a charm for the first half of the season, as they're in 1st place in their division and playing really well.  So, of course, the name Zoltan would also have to be given consideration to commemorate the great season of the year Tonka was born.

I also have a name picked out for the puppy I hope to get next year and if I had kept Tonka the puppy would be out of the question, so that's another name that would have come into consideration.  Since I don't want to give any ideas to others out here, that name won't be revealed unless I do get a puppy and he/she ends up with that name.

So I hope that Tonka's new family gives his name some serious thought.  If they are not comfortable with his name and just don't feel it fits for them or for him at 5 to 6 months old he'll easily adjust to a new name and in no time totally forget he had another name.  He'll also be glad to keep the name Tonka if that's what they decide to do.  All he wants is someone to care for him, give him LOTS of attention and love and to keep him in a happy home for the rest of his life.

Tonka has been staying with a friend since Sunday night, as I was away for a short family vacation.  He has been playing with Labrador Retriever and also living with a Golden Retriever, so he's getting new lessons in dog socialization.  He has been learning to adjust to a new situation, being in a different home, and from what I hear it is going very well.  I look forward to picking him up later today and am anxious to see his reaction when he sees me again.  I bet he's grown a bit in those few days, too.

I'll let you know how Tonka is once he does get back to my home.

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