A friend of mine recently rescued a Pyrenees cross and we were considering names. Now, names are very important on many levels but probably the one that comes to mind first is that the animal usually becomes their name. For example, Combat the cat is a Himalayan nightmare. He CHARGES any dog he sees no matter what size or temperament…and he wins. Unfortunately he’s not real happy with anyone else either. Hurricane the Redbone is a sweet boy, but is always in motion and he doesn’t really know where his body is, so many things in the china shop fall prey to his exuberance.
Rescued animals often receive a name change. A new start with a new name, I suppose. It is something that has never really resonated with me. It seems to me the name change comes from more of an ego position; the new guardian has a need to stake his claim, mark his territory if you will. I mean, I don’t like Billy Bob’s name either, but that’s his name…what are you going to do? A rescued companion has already gone through so many changes, albeit good ones usually, but changes none the less and the body/mind responds to changes, good or bad, in the same manner. Confusion about what his person is calling him doesn’t need to be in the equation. Just my opinion. But, for fun, let’s reverse the roles and look at it from a different perspective.
Kelly has a high paying job which requires difficult decisions and a good bit of stress, but it has afforded her a lovely home. The job also gives her position in the community. Suddenly, for reasons unknown, she is moved to some little village in India without her family or her job. She doesn’t know where to apply for a job even if she knew WHAT to apply for , has no friends, the food and customs are strange to her, the water makes her sick, so she doesn’t feel the best, she doesn’t fit in and everyone’s calling her Mary. Not only is EVERYTHING different…but now, she isn’t even Kelly anymore! Metaphorically and emotionally, she doesn’t know who she is. She was a so-and-so at such-and-such a place, but she can’t identify with that anymore, because she doesn’t do that. Nothing is familiar.
The situation may not be quite the same, but the emotions are and they are very real. You know you are going to give this dog a good home, you’re going to treat him like the precious gift he is. You know that….but he doesn’t, he doesn’t know you at all. He’s just hoping everything works out for the best. So, maybe let him keep his name. Let him hang on to something familiar, something he can build on; at least for a little while.
And if you feel the need at some point to make that change…choose wisely and remember the Himalayan Nightmare.