Trial Balloon

Trial Balloon: April 2, 2009 Archive

Here, Lassie!

Posted at 4:34 AM on April 2, 2009 by Dale Connelly (45 Comments)

A few days ago, Jenny asked an interesting question on a Trial Balloon post:
"Anyone else have a strange pet; or at least one they had unrealistic expectations for? "
Jenny described having bantam chickens and trying to train one to jump over a stick. This led to some trick chicken videos, courtesy of Mark.

It takes patience to train a chicken. And it takes patience to watch them, too.
But if you have a trick chicken in your life, you go to all the demonstrations at the center for Poultry Performance Arts and you sit on the hard bleachers clutching your little camera because you love them and you want to be supportive.
That's part of the deal.

The other part is naming them. Here, our pets and children are at our mercy.
Amy had a chicken named Peeps. Sherrilee mentioned having mice, all named Omar, after Omar Sharif. Barbara in Robbinsdale's family had rats, named Smokey and Cloudy.

These seem like appropriate names, but how can one know? Is a pet's name it's destiny? Would Lassie have been happier as Ginger? Not so charming as Booger? More responsive as Rocket? Less effective as Cassandra?

"Cassandra, go tell mom & dad my leg is caught between two fallen boulders and the Army Corps of Engineers just pulled the switch up at the new dam to flood the valley with water! And tell them to believe you this time!"

Sometimes a name grows out of a characteristic the animal possesses, such as my earliest remembered childhood pet, a black dog named Inky. Some pets carry names related to their pedigree, like our St. Bernard, pictured here sitting on my lap when I was a teenager.

Dale and Trinka 1970 small.jpg

Her name was Katrinka von Galliano. Why?
Galliano was her mother's name. Katrinka? I don't know where that came from. My father decided she was German. Or Swiss. And maybe she was, but the one thing we know for sure - she was heavy.

So, how have you named your pets? Is there a democratic mechanism involved? Does someone in the family become "name czar"? Do you simply step outside and pick a moniker based on what you see? Or is it more mysterious than that?

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