Ok, brace yourself. I’m about to explain the dog name situation:
It proved very difficult to juggle all the parties involved in naming my dog. Disclaimer: I alone am responsible for opening that can of worms both here and on Facebook. Internet friends, you proved very helpful if somewhat stratified in your suggestions. I saw name suggestions I loved like Chamitch (Armenian for raisin), Chesnut (we’re back to my racehorse love here), and Sanity II. And you supported my offerings as well.
I also did a far-reaching solicitation for name suggestion and approval from my Armenian community whose responses to my quirky-even-by-American-standards naming patterns proved really unhelpful. While they matched my American-internet friends for stratification, almost all prefer diminiutive cutsy names like Gina and Milo. Evi was also quite popular. And to be fair, how could they know that I love quirky names like my sister’s Tweezer and a past fish named Thing. This name quirk extends to my friends and family. I refer to none of my immediate family members by their birth names. My high school friend Maria I do believe has recieved the most nicknames ever used by me for one person (Mars, Candy Mars, Marbug,and Maria Velveeta, to name a few.) This all probably stems from my own desperate desire to have a nickname as a kid, writing a variety of things from Scott to Ketchup in the upper right-hand corners of school assignments.
So, you can see, Gina would not do. However, I need my Armenian community to like the name given and thus more fully embrace the pup. Otherwise I won’t be able to break the cultural norms that would have her caged for life surrounded by her own poop, eating scraps, and fearing/barking at everyone.
I ran the approval gauntlet with every name Chamitch got snickers. Chesnut was merely ok. Knobka was too Russian for me and too kooky for Armenians. And after every name-trial I almost always heard, “Why don’t you call her (some almost human and cute/boring name)?” The best suggestions actually came from The Clooker, who offered both Knobka and Martoshka (meaning little monkey). However, they are Russian words, and she’s an Armenian pup.
I left too much time between bringing the Unnamed home and choosing her name, so now she has enough names to give anyone an identity crisis. For my landfamily, she is Evi, as she was from the beginning. At work she is Chutik and Martoshka. And for me, she’s called Busja, from the gibberish I’ve been calling, having no permanent option, “Ay busjabusjabusjabusjabusja!”
So, I decided to go back to the name I liked from the very beginning. Drumroll…
Spring Chicken. It’s kooky, seasonally relevant, and satisfies my need to have a dog with a racehorse name. “And here comes Spring Chicken around the turn!” says the staticy radio announcer in my imagination. Spring Chicken also translates into a relatively pleasant Armenian name, Garnan Havik (pronounced Hav-eek, Hav, for chicken, and eek, the diminutive ending).
I’m embracing the name Havik, although some people call her Chutik, which means ‘Little Chick’. But I introduce her to Armenians as Havik. When they ask why she’s named that, I just tell them I like chickens.