Sunday, August 15, 2010

Naming the Puppy

Like all parents expecting a new arrival, say within the next three to four weeks, the parents are challenged to come up with a name. What a daunting task. You want it to be just the right name, fitting and easy. So, Linda and John poured over thousands of names on the Internet. It was interesting to learn that Maggie was the 3rd most popular female dog name. But, there could never be another Maggie Mae, so that name was out. John was determined that our new dog would NOT have a name like Brittany or Sasha. You get the drift. How about an older name and one a bit more refined (no, not Lady Gag Gag, either)?

One of these eleven cuties (shown at four weeks old) will be our new dog.

After a long struggle, both of us had nearly agreed on "Curleysue". "Curleysue" was an endearing nickname John had given to his beloved Linda Sue when she got a strange permanent. It was shades of Little Orphan Annie and the nickname stuck. When mini Schnauzers need a haircut (yes, they have hair, not fur, which is why they don't shed) their hair gets pretty curly, especially around their paws and on the fringe of their "undercarriage". John was willing to accept "Curleysue" as the new dog's name, but it just didn't feel quite right.

The pups were born on July 4th, so Linda came up with Betsy Ross. Other ideas put forth by Linda were Heidi Ho, Poppy Sue, Heidi Doody (Howdy Doody's sister), Abigail, Amanda, Zoe Sue, Zelda May, Peggy Sue, Natasha, Holly, Gracie, Betsy Lou, Angel and Sara Dippity. Obviously, Linda wasn't that committed to "Curleysue".

Yesterday morning, John made the mistake of making and drinking two double mochas, followed in the afternoon by a Starbuck's Mocha Frappacino. John did a lot of tossing and turning that night, but it paid off. He conjured up a name for the new puppy that we both really like.

We think the name will be a real conversation starter. The conversation will start like this.....

"Hi! That's a cute dog. What's his name?"

"Oh, it's a girl and her name is Fannie Mae."

"Why on God's green earth would you ever name your dog after the Federal National Mortgage Association?"

"Oh goodness, we didn't do that! Want to hear the rest of the story?"

If they say "No", we'll remind them that they will go to their grave not knowing how Fannie Mae got her name. If they say "Yes", we'll tell them this little "tail".

To conform to the Miniature Schnauzer breed standards, new pups have their tails docked (cut off) when they are two to three days old. They are left with a stub that's a couple of inches long. It's all good! First, when they are fully grown, they won't beat their humans with their tail. Second, the dog has no chance of developing an obsession to endlessly chase its tail round and round in a circle. Third, they can still raise that stub when they are excited. They can point it straight back when they are calm and happy. And, when they cower, they can't really put their tail between their legs (remember, they have no tail), but they can fold their stub down over their little behind.

Now, as far as the mini Schnauzer knows, they still have a real tail. And, when they are happy they can wag that tail. They don't realize it's just a stub and that no big semaphore flag is flapping back and forth. And, when a mini Schnauzer gets that stub really wagging, their whole rear end gets into the act. It seems like the muscles that pull the stub one way, have to go in the opposite direction. So, it appears that their rear end and their stub are going in different directions. It's a really cute sight.

So, what does all this have to do with naming the puppy? Even when the look on the dog's face might not tell you just how joyful and happy she is at that moment, her Fannie Mae.

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