My name is Heather, and I give my animals nicknames.
That’s right, laugh all you want. My animals have nicknames. I’m sure there are others like me; after all, the nicknames evolved from conversations I’ve had with the animals, and I know I’m not the only person in the world who can have a lengthy chat with a dog. It’s the nicknames themselves that are a little…different. See for yourself.
I’ll begin with Harry the Beagle, who no longer lives here* but did long enough to earn a few monikers. Harry’s name depended on what mischief he had committed. For instance, if he had escaped from the padlocked, steel-barred, railroad tie-fortified kennel, we called him Harry Houdini. If he simply disappeared, only to reappear unharmed two neighborhoods away, we called him Harry Potter. When he wrapped himself hopelessly around a tree or walked out in front of a car while I was walking him, he was affectionately called Stupid Ass, and I often called him Buddy when we were going through our morning walk-and-treat routine.** But the best Harry nickname–and I’ll let you figure out its origin–was Harry Dogafarte. I know what you’re thinking–genius. Wait, it gets better.
Chapin the Cat was named after a famous country-folk musician, so he’s sometimes referred to as Hairy Chapin-Carpencat (we thought he was a girl; he was almost named Emmylou). I also call him George Chapinopolous from time to time (for no apparent reason), and when he is running at breakneck speed from the front to the back to the front of the house, or when he’s knocking things off the counters to get my attention, he’s called Kitty Kitty Bang-Bang. His everyday pet name is Kitty Boy; when I walk in the door after being gone for a while, I greet him with a “Hey, Kitty Boy,” and he falls down at my feet and rolls around on his back. I know he would prefer to be called Oh Great One, but he settles for what he gets.
Which brings me to Suzanna. She’s been around the longest, and while many of her nicknames are common and predictable (Baby, Sweetpea, and Girlygirl, for example), she does have a few that get weird stares when there’s company in the house: Suzannie; Suzanna Suzannadanna, complete with the Gilda Radner accent and inflection; and perhaps the most bizarre, “Black dog, black dog, where did you come from?” Yeah, about that one. You’d have to be a “Designing Women” fan to understand, but rest assured, it’s a beautiful thing–it has a little tune and everything. On that note, I should tell you that Suzanna has her own original song…but that’s a story for another day.
*I am happy to report that Harry is EXTREMELY happy in his new home. He sleeps on the bed and watches TV from the couch. He did recently escape (who’s really surprised?) but was safely recovered. I hear they may be putting up a fence.
**Harry’s new mom and dad think he looks like a “Buddy” and call him by this name as often as they call him Harry. A good sign? I think so.