There has been a lot of material written about how people are affected by names. Some psychologists have even gone so far as to tell us that children are handicapped by names which they find unattractive.
I wonder what happens in a dog's world?
My good friend, Charlie, had a litter mate out of the same bunch as my long-departed three-legged dog. I called my dog Lightning. He chose to call his dog Sevey. When asked how he got this name, he gave the answer that he apparently likes Sevey Ballestaros, the Spanish golfer who happens to be a male. His dog is a female, so there is no assessing the trauma she suffered in her early life, being a female and spending time answering to a male name. Maybe that's why she never pays any attention to him when he calls.
After my dog disappeared, the family wanted a relative of Lightning, so Charlie agreed to have Ms. Sevey bred to a male dog in Iola and I would take one of the pups. We went through a lot of trials and problems, but eventually Sevey gave birth to two female and three male pups, although not without trouble. The first two came naturally. Then Sevey began having trouble and only a trip to the vet and a c-section allowed the three males to be born.
When it came time to choose a pup, I stopped by their house and he turned the litter of five loose in the yard. One immediately came over to me and began chewing on my shoe and wouldn't leave it alone the whole time I was there. Thinking it was I that was doing the picking, I soon found out that the little dog had picked me. Charlie also informed me that the family had named all the dogs. I was almost afraid to ask what my dog's name was. They were only too happy to tell me my pup had been named "Biscuit."
Can you see yourself out hunting with a couple of grizzled sportsmen, calling their dogs? Saying, "Come in Spot," "Over there, Sport," "Killer, there is a bird off to the left," and "Come here, King." Picture me saying, "Oh, Biscuit, oh Biscuit, would you please bring in that bird?" I predict that if this goes on very long, they will be unable to shoot, as they will be doubled over in laughter, pointing their fingers at my poor puppy. I can only theorize the heartbreak and hurt feelings this poor pup will have, being called Biscuit on a daily basis.
The name Biscuit brings up the picture of a hound beside the back door cleaning up the table scraps, rather than a hard-charging hunting dog. I wonder what the effect would be if I changed names. Something like Reginald or perhaps Liberace.
Editors note: This column originally appeared in the Oct. 8, 1988 edition of the Fort Scott Tribune.