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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Singer March Rose

I spend a lot of time deciding names for my animals. It’s important to me that they reflect something of their character. Saylor April Song was named because she was born in April, and I liked the poetic sound of an April Song. Saylor is merely a reference to sailing, a romantic occupation, spelled differently since she was a girl.

Singer came to us already named, except I added the “March Rose” because, can you guess? She was born in March and she is a rare beauty, and it sounds nice. Dakota is actually Dakota Moon, because he seems to be a lunar type, (kind of loony too!) and it sounded good together. Someone pointed out to me after we had named him that Dakota Moon is the name of a group, but I guess I didn’t steal it because I didn’t know about it then! My son named our first cat, Cloud Linden, because he was grey and white. He also liked Linden trees, which lined the street where I worked at the time.

Names help solidify our pets’ (and children’s) identities in our minds, creating an evocative image or perhaps metaphor for all our complex feelings we associate with them. In my family, my dad named all of his children. He took time to consider forebears and then he would choose a name that reflected something about us, some little attribute that would provide a familiar and comforting sound in his mind. I heard this story after he had died, so I can’t be sure if it’s true or not, but I like to think it is.

Singer March Rose, born in the last days of winter before the roses bloom while verdant stirrings underneath the crystalline snow have already started to push through, seeking the early spring sun. Singer March Rose, whose buoyant walk projects an assured grace. She is never far from her people. She is mindful, and moves through her world like a confident diva.

Okay, enough of this idolization. Singer is not an angel. Like an actress who has just performed the role of her lifetime, Singer threw away her awesome façade on Friday. We went out to eat on Friday night and put her in the crate. I threw an old blanket over the top, thinking she would find it more den-like and settle down. She licked the Kong with the liver paste in it, but soon heard us getting ready to leave and started to whimper. I thought of her throughout dinner, and hoped she wasn’t too lonely. When we got home, Singer had pulled the blanket through the wire crate and ripped it open, taking the stuffing out of it. “See, her name Singer is really after the sewing machine—she loves fabric!” joked my husband.  Then yesterday, I set out sandwiches for lunch while Singer watched. We have not given her any table scraps, not even one, since she wasn’t given any in her former home, and I don’t want her to start begging. So I turned around and saw from the corner of my eye her mouth open near my sandwich. “No!” I shouted, and she stopped. I couldn’t help remembering the day when Saylor, as a young dog at a show, used her paw to swipe a ham sandwich from the judge’s table. That’s why she didn’t win that day, we told everyone later. Anyway, I’m glad my dog isn’t perfect, it’s too intimidating! 

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