Naming the Rescue Dog


The day after Christmas I bought myself a belated gift. I got an adult dog to be a buddy to my exuberant two year old dog.  I’d been to the Martinez animal services shelter the week before, since they had so many dogs (140) and were giving them away.

It was cold and damp at the shelter. Room after room, of cages in rows, I saw pit bull after pit bull, with some German Shepherds and bloodhounds mixed in. Since I wasn’t able to get there the first two days of the giveaway, all that was left to choose from were the big guys. Except for a cute puppy named Chester. He was already adopted, which is good because I couldn’t imagine taking on another puppy.

My dog at home was about fifty pounds, and I got to thinking about how hard it would be to walk two larger dogs.  Then I spotted a black Dachshund mix dog, named Sangria. I took her cage number up to the window and asked to see her.

In the Meet and Greet enclosure, Sangria was an overweight drooling mess and not the least bit interested in me. Then I asked to see Honey, an adorable hound mix, according to her online photo. Honey turned out to be a muscular pit bull that jumped up on me.  Then I asked to see Pepper, a pinscher German Shepherd mix that stood taller and weighed more than my dog, also named Pepper. That would’ve been confusing.

My dog would want to remain the Alpha dog. I needed to go smaller.

Then the shift change brought a new counselor who said I couldn’t adopt any dog without it meeting mine first. I went home with the promise to return after lunch.

“I’m not coming back,” I said out loud when I got to the car. People were pouring in the door for the last ‘free” day.

I adopted Gingersnap three days later from ARF, Tony La Russa’s rescue organization.  She has been with me 65 hours, and I can’t bring myself to call her that. I’ve tried out dozens of names. She had a name with her former family, but only she knows what it is.

I’ve called her Miley, Daisy, Lucy, Dottie, Queen Latifah, Bessy, Betsy, Nikki, Millie, LaToya, Frankie, Jackie, Rosebud, and Little Girl.

I tried Scooter, Zipper, Zippy, Oreo, Astrid, Paprika, Lucky, and Mrs. Doubtfire.

I tested out Muffin, Pumpkin, Vanilla Bean, Tabasco, Houdini, Petunia, Lily, Olivia, Elvira and Sally.

I called her Rita, Fajita,Chiquita, Blanca, Manchita, and Dominique.

I thought of naming her after a female jazz singer:  Billie, Aretha, Diana, Ellen, Sarah, Carmen, Peggy, Norah, Etta, Rosemary, Eartha, and Roberta.

I thought of rock and roll singers:  Janis, Pat, Joan, Stevie, Tina, Debbie, Avril, Linda, Grace, Madonna, Michelle, and Mama Cass.

I thought of current actresses: Scarlett, Kate, Emma, Halle, Amy, Keira, Salma, Nicole, Shailene, Reese.

Then my daughter said, “Don’t use a people name.”

I thought of Polka Dot because she has spots. I thought of Spot. I thought of Dottie.

Since she came from Napa, I thought of Chardonnay, Rose, Cabernet, Zinfandel, and Merlot.

Whenever I call her, she seems to respond most to Daisy. Maybe her name was close to that.


Daisy Dot, because she has spots.

But last night I went to bed, and she wandered around the house for half an hour. The night before she had climbed into Pepper’s bed, and Pepper eventually joined her. Yesterday morning they were snuggled up together. But last night Pepper claimed the bed first, and New Dog wouldn’t climb in. She had snarled at Pepper over my lap and over a treat. She had burned her bridges.

I got up and put her in the crate in the laundry room. The 32 inch gate was worthless; she could jump it. She cried and cried, but I went to bed, hoping she would tire out and go to sleep. Twenty minutes later she was back in my bedroom.

“You little Houdini!” I said.

This morning, the crate is still closed up with one latch locked, and the upper latch unlocked. It is turned sideways from where it was positioned against the wall. Last night she worked hard to escape it.

Even though she is a she, I think I have to name her Houdini.

Couldda Wouldda Shouldda

I did not name her Houdini, but Daisy. I should’ve named her Dottie. There are lots of Daisy dogs out there. I found out that the previous owner called her Idgie, according to her rabies paperwork. I know, right?



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