What’s in a name?

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Forbin and Tela – 2004

My husband is insane.

Our golden retrievers, Tela and Forbin,  were both named after characters from The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday. TMWSIY is a series of songs set in the fictional land of Gamehendge. There’s a fairly large cast of characters in this epic saga, which was written by Trey Anastasio, the lead guitarist and lead vocalist of Phish, as his senior thesis.There’s only one problem. The next name we settled on from the story, was Wilson. Our last name also starts with a W, and Wilson W____ just sounds AMAZING.  However, Jay has a love for Goldens that is irrevocable, and as such the name ‘Wilson’ is off limits for my great dane puppy. *sigh*

Alas, the search for the name has begun. Here is a list of the characters from Gamehendge. At this point, my dog will be a male. It’s possible that all Bianca will have left is females, but I’m hoping hardcore for a male fawn. Anyway:

  1. The Lizards (the race of people who inhabit Gamehendge and are dependent on the writings of the Helping Friendly Book for their survival. They’re a race of people practically extinct from doing things smart people don’t do.)
  2. Wilson (a traveller who arrives in Gamehendge and eventually captures the Helping Friendly Book from the Lizards and locks it in the top of his castle, thus becoming the sole ruler of Gamehendge)
  3. Colonel Forbin (a retired colonel who embarks on a mission to rescue the Helping Friendly Book from the tower of Wilson’s castle)
  4. McGrupp (Colonel Forbin’s dog)
  5. Rutherford the Brave (head knight of the Lizards who leads a team of allies to help overthrow Wilson)
  6. Tela (member of the allies and Colonel Forbin’s object of desire who is eventually revealed as a spy for Wilson)
  7. Errand Wolfe (member of the allies who keeps the book for himself after overthrowing Wilson instead of returning it to the Lizards, thus declaring himself ruler)
  8. Roger Wolfe (member of the allies, Errand’s son. Hung by Wilson in the public square on suspicion of treason.)
  9. Mr. Palmer (Wilson’s accountant who is hanged by the AC/DC Bag in the town square after he is caught embezzling money to fund the allies)
  10. The AC/DC Bag (a robotic hangman with a bag on its head used to hang traitors and enemies of Wilson)
  11. The Unit Monster (a giant monster who is a member of the allies and is killed along with Tela for spying)
  12. Spotted Stripers (Three legged messenger birds sent by Tela the spy to reveal information to Wilson about the activities of the allies)
  13. Multibeasts (giant four-legged creatures that are used as transportation by the people of Gamehendge, much like horses or camels. They have long curly hair and splotches of brown and white color.)
  14. The Famous Mockingbird (a bird who is sent by Icculus to fly to the very top of Wilson’s castle and retrieve the Helping Friendly Book for Colonel Forbin)
  15. The Sloth (a hitman who is hired to murder Wilson after the Helping Friendly Book is rescued)
  16. Icculus (the Supreme God of the Sky and author of the Helping Friendly Book)
  17. Llamas (giant animals used by the Lizards in combat; complete with huge guns on each side)
  18. Jimmy (young resident of Gamehendge)
  19. Poster Nutbag (The cat owned by Jimmy; always dies some form of death towards the end of the song ‘Harpua’, an ever-changing narration sometimes taking place in Gamehenge)
  20. Harpua (A mean bulldog owned by an old man who was banished from Jimmy’s village; invariably ends up in a terrible fight with Poster Nutbag, usually resulting in Poster’s death, sometimes set in Gamehenge.)

So, there are a few possibilities here:

If I have a girl pup, I can name her Harpua. Jay said we could call her Harpy– but I hate the negative connotation of that, so I probably won’t use it. I don’t *dislike* Harpua– but I don’t love it. The kids thought Multi-Beast was awesome, and we could call him Beast– but I hate that. So then we have Icculus…which could be cool- except it’s hard to spell, and no one would know what I was saying, and then everyone would call him “Icky” which sort of pisses me off before I even have the puppy. I sort of like Mr. Palmer. It could be ultra cute– but then again, you would just end up calling him Palmer…and while it IS two syllables…it just doesn’t have any…I dunno…ring to it. I’m not naming my dog Poster Nutbag. For real. Under any circumstances.

Rutherford is the name I will PROBABLY end up with– but it’s just so long and so many syllables. It seems sort of fitting, considering how big he’ll be…a big name for a big boy. Also, I was just reminded by my husband that the agreement was actually that he names any dog other than a golden retriever, and I get to name the golden retrievers….great. And he just now, as I’m typing this, said

“Name him whatever you want.”

Is this a secret code? Is this one of those things where a man asks a woman, “What’s wrong?” and she says “Nothing” and everyone knows that SOMETHING is wrong? Anyway- I did some searches for some other Grateful Dead/Phish songs– and I do have to say that I also like the name Rocco… Anyway– I can’t decide whether to force my husband to name the dog or not.

Do you name your dogs before you have them? I think I’m losing my brain here.

Also, I’m ready for my puppy.

4 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. Rachel

    I had the name Gambit picked out for my puppy before I even met him. I had decided on it because my xbox gamertag has Rogue in it, and Rogue and Gambit were an item in the X-Men comics. Which sounds gross, because you’re probably thinking I’m into bestiality or something, but I was thinking more along the lines of comics and sidekicks and kick-assness and how my dog was going to be super awesome, but all it resulted in was me having to repeat and explain his name all the time because apparently the rest of the world isn’t as nerdy as I am. My first dog Ranger was named after Walker, Texas Ranger because I was obsessed with the show and Chuck Norris is kick-ass. I never had to explain that name. My dog Gandalf was already named that when I adopted him because he’s grey and white and the SPCA worker had a love of Lord of the Rings, so I kept it because it’s a fucking awesome name. I do have to explain this one though.

    Also, just wanted to let you know that I love this site, and I’ve spent most of my lunch hour reading through the few posts on here, and thinking about my dogs. Yesterday, my puppy Gambit passed away and it’s been a hard 24 hours without him. Even though we only got to have him for 2 short months, I feel like I won’t ever get over or past him, but reading about your journey to find a new furry family member helps me have some hope. Thank you.

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  2. Nat Post author

    Sloth is pretty awesome. However, we call my son Sloth King– so we can’t use it! However, I think the name search is off– we’ve settled on one, FINALLY!

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  3. Nat Post author

    Rachel, I am so, very, very sorry to learn about the passing of Gambit. Somehow I just now saw this comment. I feel awful for not seeing it sooner.

    We just lost our Forbin a few months ago, and every day still stings. We miss him terribly, and not a day goes by that one of us doesn’t mention how much we miss him.

    From the Slobber Tales family- we wish you peace.

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