Friday, November 20, 2009

The big decision...names

As you probably know names are a big deal for authors. Some spend days searching for just the right one...the meaning has to be right, the sound has to be right (I had to change a name of a character from one book to another because my editor thought it was too feminine for a hero.), everything has to be right.

And here at the Devoti household things are no different. We take picking names very seriously. Except we aren't naming characters or babies (Man, that was hard!) no we are naming dogs.

Over the years my husband and I have named four dogs together. The first was an 120 pound Alaskan malamute that we got as a 10 week old puppy. We went the map route. We looked at Alaska and picked Kiska Denali. We called him Kiska. Our next dog was a stray. He was a piebald (white with black spots) Siberian husky who weighed in at 75 pounds. He came with a collar with a rubber key chain from a bank attached that must have served as his tag. They had scribbled Niki on the back, but what I saw was the bank's name...or what I thought the bank's name was. I saw Roosevelt. The real name was Ravali (a county in Montana), but Roosevelt he was. Next came an Australian shepherd/German shepherd mix that we got at the local humane society. He was six months old and he was kind of a mistake. I saw his picture in the paper and thought he had some malamute in him. When we got there I realized my mistake, but...well...I couldn't leave him there! So, we had three dogs. This guy was hard. My husband and I argued and argued. We went through every historical name we could think of and finally, he won. Our pound puppy became Sherman.

Then finally, there was Meriwether. Meriwether was also a piebald Siberian husky. We got him as a puppy from Canada and he was the sweetest dog to ever cross a national line. As you can tell, we stuck with our historical figure theme and went a bit back to our roots. We are both from Missouri and traveled to Montana...not exactly on Lewis and Clark's trail, but close enough. :)

Now we have new puppy. New puppy has a lot of hopes penned on him. As I think I mentioned we had a rough year with dogs. Both Sherman (who we'd had for 14 years) and Meriwether died this summer. Then we got a rescue dog who bit my son, sending him to the emergency room. We've been sad and beaten. And this poor little 15 pounds of white fur has to pull that load. What kind of name does he deserve?

My husband pulled out his list. Yes, the man keeps a list. We narrowed it down to five with Truman being a top runner. But then my son (who due to circumstances got extra votes) vetoed it. We were stumped. Then I remembered a name that didn't fit our usual criteria, but that my daughter loved. I ran it by my son. He approved. I ran it by the DH...he balked. I pointed to his children...he capitulated.

And Despereaux was named!

Here's one of his early pictures, actually from before we got him...

What do you think? Does his name fit? And how about you? How important are names to you for your kids, your pets and characters?

13 comments:

Kait Nolan said...

Oh the cuteness! He's precious.

Ali said...

You're so right, Lori, names are very important... and I think Despereaux is a perfect pick for your new puppy :)

When I got my cat, I picked Serenity... because she was so calm and I loved that movie, hehe *bg*

Venus Vaughn said...

Assigning a name is a venerable task. I'm glad y'all give it as much thought as you do. I think Despereaux is a wonderful name for an awfully cute pup.

As for naming kids, I certainly understand the temptation to assign them a moniker before they've even become a bump in your belly (and for some of us, before they're even a gleam in the daddy's eye) but all foreshadowing aside, I think it's important to meet the lil squirt before you name him or her.

You could be set on Ariana and it turns out she's a Grace. You might have convinced yourself he was Joe while in the womb, but once you met him you found out he was really a Stefan.

elnice said...

so cute!

Laura said...

Despereaux is a dashing name. Of course the only name I recommend not using is Attila. Cats named Attila always come out especially bad.

Lance Weber said...

Desperuff!!

Angie Fox said...

What a sweetie! Despereaux is perfect.

And I hear you re: deciding on names. Our new puppy went unnamed for almost a week. It started to get embarrassing. I'd take her with me to go pick up my daughter from school and every day, I'd have to tell parents and kids, "No name yet."

We had to figure out what fit. And after she pulled a few stunts (hmm...I feel next week's blog post coming on), we called her Moxie.

Diane P said...

On the delivery table my daughter's name got changed because she didn't seem like we had picked out. I am glad we changed her name.

We use the baby book of names to name our dogs assigning meaning somehow. I get to name the next one.

Casey said...

When we got our Airedale four years ago, my children (both adults) argued for days about a name. I finally stepped in and chose one no one had brought up--Ernie. It fits,and neither child could claim I was playing favorites.

The new pup is adorable, and I have a friend who just named a pound puppy Truman. Actually, his full name is Hairy S. Truman.

doggonedmysteries said...

Our dog was named before he was born. We'd been talking to a breeder in Nova Scotia about a puppy--she ahd a couple of litters due soon.
We knew we wanted a white male BT. Several weeks later we got a call in the entire litter of puppies there was ONE white one and it was a male. Ours for the taking, I told her to start calling him Gavin it means white hawk in Gaelic. Turns out he was aptly named.

Amanda-Lee said...

names are important...but i also think that the name that comes first should be the name that sticks...

usually characters from my stories walk into my brain as people, in a scene and i build the story around them...like Jesse Sullivan and Andrew Blayde...two names i never would have picked in my life...but still, Jesse and Blayde it is...

BTW Despereaux is GORGEOUS!!! sooo cute...

Lori Devoti said...

Thanks, everybody! And I think the name fits him. Actually he looks a LOT like Bolt from the movie, especially when he is sleeping. He sleeps in the exact same position.
Ali, I loved Serenity too...the movie and the name. Although I liked Firefly more. :(
Venus, it took us quite some time to name my son. We had a girl's name all picked out and even after the CVS (is that what it's called?) said the peanut was packing a Y chromosome my DH had a hard time accepting that we were going to have to figure out a boy name! I picked both of our kids names though--so DH is ahead w/dogs, but I got the kids to my credit.
Oh and an interesting side note...the rescue organization we went through has theme months. So, one month all the dogs that come in are named after trees, another cell phones (really), another comedians. It is kind of fun, but makes for some strange names!

Lori Devoti said...

Thanks again everybody! Who knew the key to getting you out of lurk was posting a puppy picture... :D