A Creative Lull

It has been a busy few weeks here getting the kids ready to go back to school. There are activities that they want to be involved in and people they want to see. Plans are being made for the upcoming Autumn. As summer winds down I find myself feeling a little restless. I enjoy fall and love winter. Summer has been too long. I find I can’t write in the summer months. The words I put on paper seem to lack emotion. I’m not sure if it is due to the short nights or the fact that I am spending as much time as possible with my kids before the daily grind of school starts but something keeps me from putting to paper the tales that I have to tell.


That lack of productive writing has lead to sleepless nights. It is under the cloak of night that I write my best. When the world is quiet my stories come to life but here recently they have just been ideas drifting in and out. I go to write them down and the words seem forced so I put everything away and call it a night. Then I find myself not able to sleep. My mind busy with scenes I need to write once I find the words.


The other night as I was trying to sleep I kept waking to jot down a few notes for Not A Love Story (the title Will change eventually). My eyes were burning from lack of sleep but I just couldn’t get to sleep. Then sky opened up and rain began to fall. The ping of rain hitting the tin of the window air conditioner combined with the pitter patter of the rain dancing across the roof lulled me to sleep. I have heard people say that “rain is a lullaby for a writer’s soul” and it holds some truth at least for me. Though snow does the same, even more so.


I find that I get more inspired and write better when it is raining or snowing. Perhaps it has something to do with the peacefulness that comes with those storms. Maybe it is the imagery that helps to spark the imagination. There is something about it that helps me to either write or plot for a story.


With Autumn I will be able to write more as the nights get longer. Between longer evenings and rainy days I am sure to find myself writing more and feeling good about the words that appear on paper.


Do you have a more difficult time being creative during certain times of the year?


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Happy Parent Vacation!

My kids went back to school this morning. Excuse me while I happy dance for a moment.

This is the first time I’ve been in a quiet house for more than ten minutes in at least four weeks. I am actually able to have a coherent thought.

We had a lot of fun this summer. We camped. We traveled. The kids learned out to swim like fish. The twins are leaping off the side of the pool and swimming with their face in the water across the width of the pool. The youngest will also jump from the side and put her face in the water. It’s a huge improvement from last summer’s swimming lessons. And the kids talk and make noise ALL. THE. TIME.

I’ve learned that I NEED quiet time, not just adult time, but silence, especially immediately after an outing. My brain needs to unwind a bit before I can answer the recurrent “Mom?”s. Then the word doesn’t sound like metal scraping on concrete.

Don’t get me wrong, they were excited to go to school and I didn’t have to push them out of the car at the playground and I didn’t squeal the tires as I left, but I am looking forward to letting my mind and body recharge. Maybe I’ll even start writing again.

Happy Parent Vacation!
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Keeping My Hands Busy

This is a free week at Four Foxes, One Hound. Normally I’d tell you about the books I’ve read from my TBR list, but this month I haven’t managed to read ANYTHING! Reading has been pushed aside in favor of two other passions: writing and crafting. So I guess I’ll have to tell you about those.

Three French Inns mockOn the writing front, I finally managed to finish my annual Christmas novella. Since I had such positive feedback from The Partridge and the Peartree as well as its sequel Two Tutor Doves, I decided to continue the theme with Three French Inns. For some reason, this story was difficult to write, even though I had a basic plot and (what I thought to be) a major conflict. But after several false starts, a couple of meetings with what I’m calling my Brainstorming Buddies and some great advice from a history professor who was gracious enough to answer my email – even though we’ve never met – the story finally got off the ground and was submitted to a publisher this month. Now it’s on to the next project – which is also running into roadblocks!

bag long handleI often brainstorm while sewing or crocheting. There’s something about keeping my hands busy that helps my mind to sort things out better than sitting in front of a blank screen. I always have a project in my hands when I’m watching television, because otherwise I feel like I’m wasting time. Also, I’ve discovered that if I keep my hands busy I’m less likely to snack – and snacking is what caused me to grow larger and larger until health concerns demanded that I make some lifestyle changes.

Last fall, I found a project that is so simple I don’t have to check the instructions any more – and the best part is, it costs NOTHING to make!

bags assortedIf you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you may have seen pictures of the tote bags I make from plastic grocery bags. I’ve sold a few, but most have been given to family and friends. The other day I made a list – so far I’ve made almost 40 of these totes. It usually takes me around four or five days to finish a bag, but during the Olympics, my hubby and I watched a lot of television together and I finished five of them during the two weeks of events. I’m trying to finish a bunch of them so that my mom can give them to relatives in Japan when she goes next month.

bag ChristmasEach tote bag takes between 80 and 100 plastic sacks. At first it was a challenge to collect enough to keep me busy, but now my friends and family who’ve received the totes keep my bag supply healthy by saving their bags for me. I can always count on getting several on Tuesdays when I go to my quilting group and scrapbooking club. Our grocery store has bins where people put their used bags for recycling, and my husband often stops to empty it out for me. So I have NO shortage of raw material!

bag susan

I filled this bag with a beach towel as a gift for a friend who moved to Florida.

Last winter I happened to mention my hobby on author Vicky Batman’s blog and she asked me to do a guest how-to blog post about it. I was happy to oblige and I even gave away a bag to one of her readers. You can read the how-to HERE.

So that’s basically how I spent my summer: writing, crocheting, and a little bit of performing (the community band plays concerts in the park once a month). I’m hoping to get back to reading and reviewing books written by authors I know (or have met online) very soon – just as soon as this current writing project is done!

How did you spend your summer?

Posted in hobbies, Patricia Kiyono, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

“Accounting” For Pet Names

This week we are discussing quirky pets or unusual pet names…don’t get me started on quirky pets! We’d probably better leave that alone, since I have had, and still have, some real off-the-wall characters!

Besides, I have more than enough material on names alone. I have been hoping for this topic for a while.

We knew a family who actually named their pets by their color: Brownie, Blackie, Whitey, Spot; the list went on.

I was disappointed by the lack of they showed but it completely drove a mutual friend bonkers! He named his pets after obscure literary characters and at the time had dogs named Khang and Oblio.

When I met my husband, his family had a little fluffy terrier named “Muffin” and a striped cat named “Tigger”; there is very little mystery as to the inspiration of those names, but we always gave animals unusual names in my side of the family.

When my mother was a young teenager an equally young admirer presented her with a kitten. He was a bit shy about it, so he covered it by saying, “I brought you sunding” [something]. My mother felt that it was appropriate to name the cat “SunDing”.

When she married my father she decided to get a dog. The German Shepard puppy toddled around on stubby legs, and her name became “Toddie”.

Mom was given several pets through the years. Two were parakeets. The first one was named Sammy, but the second one had no name so Mom named it “Phoebe”. All was fine until “Sam” laid an egg and Mom found that she had confused the genders. “Sammy” became “Sammee”, but there wasn’t much she could do with “Phoebe”; that poor guy was saddled with that for life.

When we were kids and moved from an apartment to a house, we got a dog. My sister named for a dog on “77 Sunset Strip”. The dog on the show was a poodle, named “Chou-Chou”. My sister didn’t know French, so she named the dog “Shu-Shu”…never mind that it was a Schnauzer mix and the name never fit, it had a name from a hit show.

One cat was dark and very long-haired. My sister named her for a very hairy young musician of her acquaintance, “C.J.” We could never answer the question of what the initials stood for.

Another long-haired cat we had was a pedigreed Persian that needed a home. His short-time owner, Woody, gave him a very inappropriate name, (which I can’t recall and might not be able to post anyway), so my mother registered the cat with a fancy name. She called him “Khayyám”, but was not allowed to register him with that as a first name, so she called the Iranian embassy, (back when the Shah was in power), and asked for several words. She settled on the word for philosopher, I believe. His full title was “Sha’ar Khayyám of the Wood”, as a nod to the fellow who gave him to her.

When he was a kid, my brother brought a cat home that was so soft, we called him “Softie” at times, but since he seemed to be the leader of the neighborhood cats, my mother named him “Francis Albert”, after Mr. Sinatra, the “Chairman of the Board”.

My brother named another cat “Illya”; we were big “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” fans at the time.

A few years after Shu-Shu went to doggie heaven, I really wanted a dog. A friend of the family’s dog was having unplanned pups, and I got the survivor of twins. The friend’s family called the woman “Tooter”, pronounced in their mother’s South Carolina accent like “Tuddor”, and that was what I named the dog.

When my husband, sons and I moved here to a house with a real yard, the boys , especially the younger one, wanted a dog. He really wanted a Beagle; I did not. The boys were going to a camp with Franciscan Friars and I told him not to pray for a Beagle, but I think he did. We found an abandoned Beagle-mix while they were way…I named her “Martina”, for St.Martin de Porres, who was a miracle worker and friend of animals. The dog was always “Tina”, and I loved her. Everyone thought I was nuts giving her a regular girls’ name.

My niece was going to try to sneak another dog into the family’s house by claiming that friend wanted it, but not knowing this, I offered to take him. My husband soothed it over by naming him after a celebrity on whom my niece had a crush. The dog went through life as “Marcus, or “Mark”, and whenever I said his name, everyone laughed.

Some people can’t handle people names on pets. We had a cat named “Catherine” and one named “Aloysius”…that one particularly got to folks!

We had a feral family of cats that came in and out of our yard. At the time, we had just watched “Dances With Wolves” with our sons. One cat seemed bolder than the others and the boys named him ”Wind-In-His-Fur”[Hair]; he became “Windy”. One was the image of their mother with four white feet, so that one became “Four Socks”. (“Two Socks” was the wolf). The last sweet little kitten they wanted to name “Tatonka”, (Lakota for ‘buffalo’), but I squelched that. “Leutentant”, as the Indians called the soldier, became that one’s name… then we found that “Louie” was actually a “Louise”. Their mother, when we caught her, became Katie/Kate, since the neighbors called her “Kitty”, but her “Indian name” was befittingly, “Stands With A Hiss” [Fist; I hope you know the movie.]

Our first cat was actually my aunt’s, (we unwittingly steal pets from each other). My mother’s sister had bought her own German Shepherd,* a beautiful, lovely dog. She got a calico kitten and the dog adored it…too much. He’d carry her around in his mouth and wash her until she was soaked. My aunt would find her hiding anywhere the dog couldn’t reach and so we took her “until she got bigger”… we never parted with “Puccini”. This was the aunt who had the Italian-American radio show and fancied herself a patroness of the arts; she went on to name her pets accordingly.
[*“Adolph Von Beethoven” was 18 months old and already a registered pedigreed German Shepherd when my aunt bought him…my mother said that the name was too much and called him “Dolphie”.. and it stuck.]

“Mozart” was my aunt’s first Siamese, who was followed by another of his breed, “Voltaire”.
“Toscanini” was an all-white cat of hers. Those cats were enormous. Her husband, a very funny man, would say “They are as light as a fender”, and that wasn’t the end of his teasing; they were “Moats”, “Volts” and “Toast”.

When my aunt’s neighbor acquired a beautiful German Shepherd purely to sell puppies, my aunt was rightfully concerned. The dog wasn’t cared for as she should have been and the last puppy would not sell. There was something quite wrong with it. It was disproportionately large, had floppy ears and it wasn’t bright. My aunt paid full price for her and used the name “Puccini” again, which my uncle changed to “Poopie”.

Her mother, “Duchess”, was purchased by my aunt for an astronomical fee when the people realized that she wasn’t the cash cow they had hoped for.(Raising puppies involved work…like cleaning up.)Believe it or not, my aunt was upset that she couldn’t glamorize that name.

When the last Shepherd passed on, someone gave her a miniature Schnauzer. Looking for a Germanic and cultured name, she took the opera composer Wagner’s name and spelled it basically as it is pronounced in German: “Vahgnah”…but my uncle called her “Woggie-Doggie”.

My aunt became friends with the legitimate breeders who had sold the dog to her friend and acquired another, whom she named “Ilza”, for the Ilz River. She arrived pregnant and had one puppy whom my aunt named “Ande”, which she thought sounded swanky; it was the name of her breeder friend, “Edna”, spelled backwards.

The cat who then joined that doghouse was named “Gioto” for the classic Italian artist/sculptor…and my uncle called him “Tojo”.
My aunt wanted to kill him.

But to this day I am so amused that with all her tries to keep a certain ‘standard’ with her pets’ names, one Schnauzer that joined the crew was already named and to my aunt’s chagrin, it was “Sally Sue”.

Right now we have four cats. “Bella” started out named “Belle” by the young man who rescued her as a kitten. “Mercy” is the only cat ever named by my husband. “More mercy is needed in this world”, he said and as cantankerous as the cat started out, she has responded to the mercy shown to her.

“Pickles” here was named “Mr. Pickles” by my son; I have no idea why, but his son named our big marmalade tabby after his favorite food, “Oranges”. ( Let that be a warning: Never let a hungry 5-year-old name a cat.)

But interesting names have not been limited to dogs and cats. I told The Hound last week of acquiring a snake twenty years ago which I could not bring myself to touch, but I went the opposite of how I felt and named him “Snookums”.

There have been assorted rodents in the family, but the ones with the most interesting names were a couple of guinea pigs my nieces  picked  up at the height of a show’s popularity: “Laverne and Shirley.”

I’ve taken a lot of your time, but I want to share the tale of our finches.
Our canary, “Francis”, (for St. Francis), had died. When a baby with health problems was born to family friends, they asked if we wanted their finches. They were male Zebra Finches but their little girl had named them “Tammy” and “Finchie”. I could not deal with those. I had been a bookkeeper and they sounded to me like old-fashioned adding machines when they sang, so I named them for famous accountant brothers, “Henry” and “Richard”: H&R Block. My husband used to tell people they were “Blockbirds”. If you watch the video below for just 30 seconds, (until the one sings on the lower perch), you’ll get an idea of what I heard several times a day:

Henry escaped in a house with four cats and I only found a few of his feathers. Richard seemed lonely. The local pet shop only had another type of finch, a Spice Bird. The boys and I had just read about Marco Polo, so “Marco” he became. When Richard died, (these birds don’t have longevity), our local shop had closed, so we had to travel to get a finch, this time, an all-white female. They are originally from Down Under, so I named her “Sheila”, a slang-name in Australia for any girl or woman. When Marco flew to Heaven, Sheila lived for years as a widow, happily pumping out useless eggs… too bad she wasn’t a chicken.

What do you think of my family’s crazy ideas for pet names?


Posted in childhood, Family, Tonette Joyce | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

All Creatures Great and Quirkily Named


… The Lord God Made Them All

By Jeff Salter

Might as well start at the beginning…

I’m told my older brother had a dog named Poochie-Boy, but the first pet I remember (during my kindergarten year of 1955-56), was Spottie # 1. We had that dog for only a matter of weeks before it was diagnosed with red mange, for which the treatment then was apparently to be put down. Somebody in the Macon GA church gave us a Calico cat, which we named Mary. Mary was the most tolerant cat in the world and let my little sister dress her up like a doll. Before we moved from Macon to Covington LA, my parents took Mary out to the countryside and turned her “loose,” because they thought cats could not adapt to new environments.

That same year, we got another fox terrier named Spottie # 2, which was eventually shortened to Spottie. We have photos from the Macon period which show Spottie wearing a t-shirt and somebody’s denim shorts. Later she was called Puppy Sue or Sue. Still later, our brother gave her the name Pah-Who-Wee-Hah-Woo, after a Native American in a TV show we watched at the time. Sometimes that was shortened to Pah-Who. When we’d all return from church or some other outing, Spottie would greet us by dragging herself on the grass with her front paws — sort of like what polar bears do on glaciers in documentaries. Someone in our family said that was purty, which was modified to puhhdy… so when we came home we’d tell Spottie to “do puhhdy” and she’d drag herself all over the yard for us. Spottie # 2 lived a long life and I was already in college I think when she died while sleeping in the front yard.

My grandmother Robinson had an ancient, irritable dog named Dixie. After Dixie finally died, she got a dog she named Daisy. Daisy had puppies (we never met the father) and Grandmother let Becky and I pick out two to keep at her house: Rex was “my” dog over there and Happy was my sister’s dog. I think Grandmother had a dog after those two were long gone, but maybe I’m confusing Daisy in the timeline.

During my sophomore year in Mt. Pleasant IA, we lived next door to a family with a little dog named Lucky. Alas, Lucky was not at all fortunate because she seemingly received too little affection from her owners and often was outside shivering in the cold winter. To the point that Lucky eventually moved in with us and later the neighbors formally announced that we could henceforth take care of her. Now that Lucky was truly my sister’s dog, Becky renamed her Jenny. When my brother visited home from college, he promptly re-named her Benny. He would hold Jenny in his lap, pet her lavishly, and croon, “Benny is so ugly… ugly, ugly, little Benny.” And Jenny loved the attention. Jenny lived to a good old age but was eventually stricken by some sort of paralysis.

Another family pet was from a litter of kittens which had been found in the back of Marsolan’s Feed & Seed Store, where I worked for two summers and on Saturdays of the school year in between. My sister was in the hospital for a procedure and I smuggled that kitten into her room for a visit. So it was officially Becky’s cat, but the cat adopted my Dad. Don’t recall who named it, but he was called Thomas. At a relatively young age, Thomas was found dead under the house. My dad believed he had been poisoned.

While I was dating Denise, I bought her a dog that I’d come across in Hammond where I worked on the daily newspaper. Initially, I named him Ace, though his facial markings vaguely suggested a particular TV actor so my Mom re-named him Spock. He also went by Spocky-Doodle and didn’t seem to mind. I was away in the Air Force when Spock was killed by a car while my folks were visiting the cottage in AL.

Around this same general time, I bought my sister a beagle, which she named either Abby or Nabby. Someone adjusted that to Nabigail and even to Nabigail Van Buren. When our son Dave was an infant (and we visited from NM), Nabby would sit by his crib and sniff him protectively.

Shortly after we were married, Denise bought a puppy which was initially named Angus. Because he faintly resembled a miniature black Angus bull, someone adjusted his name to Bangus. He also responded to Angus McGregor and Bangus McGregor; some called him Bangoose. Bangus loved to play in the water. I’ve forgotten exactly how or when, but he died fairly young.

I’ve forgotten the details, but during our few years in Jonesville LA, we were adopted by a cat we called Midnight. Though we never met the boyfriend, our cat later had kittens. I’ve heard various stories about what happened to Midnight’s kittens, but some tell the tale that they were given away as trick-or-treat treats. [I’m skeptical of that story because trick-or-treat is how a duckling came to live in our Baton Rouge apartment during my grad school time.]

In Jonesville, we also had a little dog named either Rugs or Rags (or both). This dog later strayed out to a distant highway and was killed by a vehicle.

Fast forward a few years to Bossier City. I had been putting off getting another dog because our son was supposedly allergic to canine dander. Instead, we got two ducks (which I named Bo and Luke Duck (after popular, fast-driving TV characters)… and later some rabbits.

But what Dave really wanted was another dog. Finally he got one, which he named Rascal. During the day, Rascal slept on TOP of his doghouse, like the fictional Snoopy. Rascal also went by the names, Razz, Razz-a-Ma-Tazz, Spazz, and others I can’t remember now. He was a great dog, who used to sing for us and could do several imitations. He also ate an entire garden hose one summer. He had a girlfriend somewhere in the neighborhood and spend considerable time escaping from our fenced back yard. Rascal survived a bout of heartworms and lived a good long life until a series of later medical problems put him in too much discomfort to go on.

My daughter acquired a Spitz she named Sugar, the only animal we ever had with official breeding. I don’t recall any variations of that name, but Sugar was very possessive of Julie. Sugar slept on Julie’s bed and if anyone went down the hall and dared enter that bedroom when Julie was present, Sugar would growl viciously. Sugar also had a long life until something caused her to lose the functions of her back legs.

Our next pet was originally intended as a stealth hunter for the mouse-infested Pitney-Bowes Building in Shreveport (where my wife worked). Denise got him at a shelter in Bossier Parish. Initially he was named CIP, which was an acronym for some process my wife worked with at P-B… something like Customer Installation Procedure. Anyhow, after CIP jumped on too many desks where he was not welcome, he was fired from P-B and sent home to live with us. Somewhere along the line, he became SIP and later Sipper, though he briefly had the name Desperado because it sounded a bit too girly for me to yell out the front door, “Sipper, Sipper, Sipper” each evening when it was his supper time. Eventually, after his relocation to KY, he took on the name King Sipper the Cat.


Belle, as a puppy in fall 2006

After my wife had moved here and brought my mom to get her settled, I was still in LA selling the house and settling things at work before my retirement. To keep her company in the old Williams family Farm House, Denise paid $10 at Big Lots for a little black terrier with huge bat-like ears. It was, of course, Belle. You’d need a whole book to describe Belle – and, indeed, Belle’s essence appears in two of my novels as Perra – but suffice it to say that she could hear a leaf fall in the next county, could leap like a gazelle in the wheat fields, and could have out-raced a trained greyhound. Belle was a gregarious critter, making a wide social loop every day. She’d stop in and visit my Mom, go tussle with neighbor dog Sadie (and borrow some of Sadie’s chew toys), tussle with neighbor dog Ike, and explore other places. Belle also visited the gas station on Dairy Road every day and mooched snacks from the ladies in the office; they named her Sweet Pea. Belle accompanied Denise to obedience school, where rambunctious Belle learned how to manipulate my wife just enough for Denise to think she was in charge. Upon “graduation,” Denise offered to let the instructor use Belle as a hospital comfort dog, but the instructor politely declined. Sometimes Belle was difficult to round-up but Denise soon learned that if she would start singing the title song from “The Sound of Music,” Belle would come running and kiss her face. Many was the time when Denise would stand on our front porch and began with “The hills are alive…” and we’d see that black gazelle bounding through the wheat field toward home.

One cold and rainy night, a stray appeared at my daughter’s house. Julie was afraid to let it inside because she had two Labs that could’ve eaten it for dessert. So my wife took in the trembling bundle. Bojangles has been with us ever since. No, he does not sing or dance, but Bo loves to go with me to visit my Mom each afternoon. Until Belle’s untimely death, she and Bo would romp constantly. Bo and Sipper have an uneasy truce.

Those are all the official pets I remember, but along the way, as a high school kid, I raised chickens and hamsters. Didn’t name the fowl, but some of the hamsters were given names, which I recall to have been those of the Beatles members and their girlfriends (or, in John’s case, his wife).


What about you? Ever have pets as a kid? Have any pets now? Any funny names?

[JLS # 294]

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Not at all Strange

This week we’re talking about pets and their names. Animals have always been a huge part of my life. As far back as I can remember we always had some sort of animal sharing our home. As far as I am concerned they all had relatively normal names but I will allow you to be the judge of that.


The first pet I barely remember she was a cocker spaniel named Baby. The only thing I recall about her was that she would chase me out of the room if she was trying to eat. For some reason she wouldn’t let me in the same room if she was at her food dish. She’d bark and run at me and I would jump on the table just to get away from her. I don’t know who named her or what happened to her.


On the farm my grandparents had a dog named Lobo. He had belonged to my uncle but when he passed away (at the age of 17) Lobo became grandma’s. This dog was loyal, cuddly, protective, and a great friend. He would follow us around the farm, or rather he would lead us. Always on the lookout for anything that might harm us. I recall several instances where he killed snakes because they were too close to where we were playing. Lobo lived to a ripe old age and was buried under his favorite tree.


Shortly after Lobo died my dad took us to get a Collie. We picked a beautiful girl. My little brother and I argued over names so finally my dad named her Duchess. It seems most of the time we called her Dutch. She was a great dog who loved going to the farm. When we were in town I enjoyed walking her except when she saw something she wanted. My brothers all thought it was hilarious that the dog could flip me over and drag me behind her while she chased a rabbit or squirrel. At least I never let go of the leash. She also lived a long life. My two older children vaguely remember her. She passed away from cancer.


We had so many cats when I was little that I don’t recall all of their names. There was Sunshine, the only good cat according to my dad who never cared for cats. Monty, Rascal, Pixie, Bear, Midnight, Shadow, Leena, Meena, Cheyenne, and my Jig.


Jig was a one eyed black cat. I found him walking home from school. A couple of boys had been throwing him around like he was a football. I scooped him up and carried him home. When I walked in the door I said, “Look what I have.” To which my mother replied with something along the lines of “ Take him to your room and do your homework.” We were always bringing strays home and begging to keep them. It was usually met a no which after a lot of begging would turn into “Ask your dad.” Daddy always said yes, my sister swears it was all because of the puppy dog eyes and lip quiver. Never before had mom responded with take him to your room. A few hours passed and my mom came up to check on me. It was then that she realized the black cat I had was not Shadow (the one we already had). After seeing that one of his eyes had been poked out she said we could keep him and we got him into a vet. He was a great cat and loved to curl up on me or next to me while I read or wrote.


My sister had a hedgehog named Willie and I had a lamb named Homer (My grandma named the lamb so I know he was named after Homer author of the Iliad and not after the Simpsons).


Fast forward to more recent years and you have my sister’s dogs. Remington, Winchester, and Nikka. When Win and Nik had puppies she and I named them with a bit of an Avengers theme. Hawkeye Number Nine (the 9Th one born), Short Tail Thor ( his mom stepped on his tail slicing half of it off the day he was born), Agent Phil Amina, Koda, Loki, Cam (Captain America) and Dragonmire Ironman.


My current animal is Magneto. My brother named him for the M on his forehead. He thinks he’s a parrot because the cat likes to perch in shoulders.


All these names seem normal to me. They just fit the animals perfectly. I do have a name that I like for a future pet but don’t know if I’ll ever use it and that is Abacus. How do you name your animals?


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Fido, Rover, Buddy…What Was Your Name?

This week we’re discussing quirky or strange pet names.

When I was small, a procession of goldfish came to our house. We usually had them in pairs – a gold one and a black one. The gold one died, so we got another. Then the black one died, so we got another. And then the gold one…well, you get the idea. At the time I wondered if they didn’t like the fact that we named them after us. The lighter colored one was always named Patty, and the darker one was always named Mike (after my brother). Looking back, I have a sneaking suspicion that they might have survived longer if I’d remembered to feed them.

We had a puppy once, for a few hours. We named him Chipper. We didn’t have a dog bed, so we put towels in a box and put my alarm clock in with him so that he wouldn’t miss his mommy. And then my brother Ken’s eyes started watering and he broke out in a rash. He started sneezing and wheezing and my mother started to panic. Chipper went back to his previous owners in a hurry.

Since I was ambivalent about the dog in the first place, I didn’t complain. Apparently my brothers did, because we soon had a parakeet chirping in our kitchen. And I don’t remember who named this creature, but we ended up calling it Suzy. That’s not too strange, except we learned that Suzy was male—and we never bothered to change its name. I didn’t have much to do with Suzy. I cringed whenever it was my turn to feed him and eventually turned over some of my babysitting money to get one of my brothers to take care of my bird chores.

My hubby didn’t seem to mind my aversion to animals. He thought it was funny that a city kid like me taught in a rural farming area like the one he grew up in. But then we had kids, and those kids wanted a pet. Dad and the kids won out, and I had to share my living space with a pair of lovebirds. I don’t think we ever named them – they were just ThoseDangedBirds. They made a lot of noise except when the cage cover was on, so I tended to forget to take it off in the morning. They finally returned to the pet store.

Later on my hubby again overrode my wishes and came home with a Bichon Frise. I made it clear I would NOT have anything to do with feeding and caring for this creature. And for the most part I kept that promise. But I did come up with her name. Since the puppy was tiny, we looked for a name that reflected that – and came up with Demi.

I survived almost nine years with that creature. By the time she died the kids had moved out of the house, and it’s been blissfully quiet – except for when the granddog is here. My younger daughter has a West Highland Terrier named Snowball. Fortunately, Snowball’s previous owners trained him well, because he doesn’t jump on furniture or people, doesn’t beg, and doesn’t bark, except when he sees a squirrel. He holds still when we need to put his leash on and comes when he’s called. So dog-sitting for Snowball in small increments is doable.

None of these names are particularly strange or quirky. But then, we haven’t had to name that many pets. The girls’ piano teacher had a dog named Diogi (pronounced D. O. G.), and my step-daughter and hubby own one named DiNozzo (they’re NCIS fans). I had a forgetful friend name her mutt Hey-You so that she wouldn’t have to think too hard before calling.

How do you name your pets?

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