Do dogs really care what we name them?
Absolutely not. They'll answer to anything as long as we're consistent.
Bo was a difficult dog to name. Originally we called him Beauregard, then shortened it to Bo, then added another Bo (Bobo) so that it wouldn't rhyme with "no,"--trust me, you do not want to name a pet anything that rhymes with no because you then have to come up with some other correctional word or sound and it's easy to forget in the heat of the moment. The poor dog does something it shouldn't and instead of hearing "no," they hear what sounds like their own name. Very confusing.
But several months after settling on the name Bo, it became evident that his true name--meaning the name that's in his soul--is Goober.
This truth was never more evident than when Bo went in for his surgical recheck and staple removal yesterday. The vet tech who cared for him during his six-day stay affectionaly called him Goober. And he'd perk up at that. After she left the exam room I told Bo, "Even B. knows your true name."
And that's when I had an epiphany. The hubs and I need to change Bo's name. The situation reminds me of T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Naming of Cats." It's a difficult matter according to Eliot because a cat has three different names. There's their everyday name, their particular and peculiar name that belongs to no more than one cat, and then their secret name that only the cat ever knows.
So I took the name Goober for a test drive yesterday. "Hey, Goober!" I said to Bo enthusiastically. His face lit up and he wagged his tail. Then when I said, "Hey, Bo," it was like the sun had gone behind some clouds. Hmmm...even the dog likes the name Goober better than Bo.
So Goober it is. It'll probably take longer for the humans to adjust than for Bo/Goober. Because the dog knows his true name.