August 05, 2003

Rover, Fido or Fang?

Thanks for puppy-picking tips and encouragement. I printed and will take with us the Volhard Puppy Aptitude test (link sent by black lab owner and just-next-door blogger Ron Bailey and thank you very much) and we will do some of these little 'tests' on the five males that remain to chose from on the 17th. This test gives a basis to make this difficult decision on some basis other than 'he has sweet eyes'. Ever seen a puppy without sweet eyes, for cryin' out loud?

And re the name. The original proposal tossed into the ring was "Ender" (child prodigy from the Orson Scott Card book, Enders' Game, and also to connote the very real possibility that this pup would be the end of our puppies, with only older less energy and patience demanding dogs for pets after this). More recent possibilities include the rather euphonic and color-descriptive "Barley" for a yellow lab. It also has agrarian overtones which seems fitting. Lastly, and front runner in Nate's opinion is another botanical name I came up with at Ann's prompting. We were driving down the lane a few days ago pondering puppy names, using most anything as a trigger. Just then we passed under some drooping branches of a dying Hemlock (there is no other kind for hundreds of miles) and considered "Hemlock" which I translated into the genus name for Hemlock: "Tsuga" (pronounced Sooga).

Ya have to think about this. We want a large dog in small part as a deterrent to unsolicited visitors. You have to admit, there is a psychological difference in the shock value in the sound of shouting "Kill, Barley!" compared to "Kill, Fang!" Tsuga is a little more Fang-like, but not too much. Who am I kidding. With labs, the command might be something like "Lick, Buster!" This he might obey as this licking a stranger is something a lab is prone by temperament to do. Still, Tsuga has a kind of soft power to it and an element of mystery and I think it is front runner for the moment. As our hemlocks die, Tsuga grows on Goose Creek.

Posted by fred1st at August 5, 2003 07:22 AM | TrackBack

This is a tough one, Fred. Barley and Tsuga are both good names. Ender sounds too bleak and ominous. You have to imagine situations in which you will be calling the dog's name. Imagine that he has slipped his collar once again and is now on his way down to the creek at breakneck speed to chase butterflies...


...and ask yourself if it might in any way sound strange to the neighbors. I'm sure that, being a retriever, he will provide you with many such opportunities.

Best to wait, though, until you have him home for a few days and see which name really seems to fit him. You may find that his personality points to an entirely different name, like "Taz" or "Calamity" or "Squirrelbane."


Posted by: Curt at August 5, 2003 09:55 AM

I like "Ender" ~ or you could go with "Bean," Ender's even smaller, even younger genius sidekick.

Posted by: Pascale Soleil at August 5, 2003 12:10 PM

Tsuga is perfect...has a good heft for the large dog he will become...but retains a sweet puppy note that fits a Lab's personality really well.

Although I've never heard your voice I can imagine "Soooooogaaaaaa!" reverbing over the meadow.

I rather doubt the neighbor's are surprised by anything they hear/see coming from Goose Creek.


Posted by: feste at August 5, 2003 01:13 PM

I keep hearing Phil Collins in my head...Tsu-tsu-tsuga..ahhh.ah ah....

I've been out with computer problems. Somehow managed to have aol but no ie. All dressed up and nowhere to go. I've thought about you and hoped you were getting along ok. I'm glad you're in the puppy-picking process and that I'm finally back online to watch it evolve.

Posted by: Lisa at August 5, 2003 04:29 PM

"using most anything as a trigger" and I thought yea, that's a good name Trigger and being good at predicting endings...well, it didn't end the way I expected.


It's a strong name, fast, powerful, like "Shoot, Trigger". Then around intellectual friends you just call him "TRIG"onometry (sp?). And...Tsuga, eh?

Posted by: meg at August 5, 2003 10:13 PM

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