Jolene the Dog and Other Naming Riddles

tamrawilson Uncategorized

JoleneI don’t know where the Humane Society comes up with names for adoptable pets. In 2012, our corgi mix came home with her medical record, a sweet disposition and an impossible name: “Angelea.”

know Humane Society folks mean well, and giving them human names makes these hopeful family members seem more like family. But my husband and I decided that we couldn’t handle four-syllable dog name, much less “Angelea.” The only human we knew by that name, or remotely close, was actress Angelina Jolie. The Angelea name got things rolling, and soon it morphed into “Jolene.”

Yes, we had to contact Petfinder and the veterinarian. Angelea was now Jolene, the Dolly Parton song notwithstanding.

Our Jolene wouldn’t steal anything but your heart. She looks at you with one blue eye and one brown eye (yes, she has one of each) as if you hang the moon, which of course you do.

With our pets it never matters what the official name is on a vaccination record, the pet will invariably acquire a nickname or two or three.  Jolene, for example, is now “Queen.”

Several years ago we adopted a chow from the Humane Society who had been named “Bambi.” There was no way I would own a dog with such a frou-frou name, so she became “Bamboozle” or more simply, “Bam.” Eventually, she became “Spam.” Rhymes figures heavily in the process.
Other dogs have experienced the same misnomers. Our first corgi, Winnie, was known to us as “That Little Girl” which was shortened to “That.”

“Where’s That?”

“She’s on the couch.”

“Has That been fed?”
“Yes, twice.”

That also rhymed with fat.

Christine, a beagle we had once, became “The Teen.” Spotty, our beloved beagle, was known as “Paté.” Mildred, a basset-chow mix, was “Dutch.” Cappy, another rescue, is often called “Roon.” Frisker, our border collie/lab mix, is now “Furry” or “Mr. Fear.”Furr Boy

I know. Don’t ask.

Some people hate nicknames and refuse to call their dogs anything but “Jack” or “Ruff” or “Spot.” Good for them.

But others share our penchant for “pet” names. Some friends’ cat started out as Sweetie and became “Teeter Man.” My brother’s dog Buddy became “Butter.”

I hope I’ve inspired you to observe April, National Pet Month, by adopting a rescued pet.  The number for the Humane Society of Catawba County: 828-464-8878.



You may cont