Naming Your PetPublished January 16, 2009
Naming a pet is not as easy as some folks may think. I mean, consider that the name you give your pet is probably permanent, and may even influence your pet's behavior. So it really behooves us to be very careful in choosing a name. Now you may think that I am a little "off the chart" crazy in suggesting this and opening the topic up for discussion, but I have come to believe that it is highly possible for a pet to take on the aspects of his or her moniker. So I preface what I am suggesting with my own experience and how it may have just innocently and subconsciously cast our white Oriental Shorthair, Trouble, into the role of his name. For example, a few months ago, my husband was reading aloud to me from a very spiritual and interesting book, "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. I love to listen to my husband's deep and resonant voice while he is sharing his passion for knowledge and I delight in his enjoyment as he reads to me. It is one of our frequent Sunday morning activities. As he was reading the first agreement, "Being impeccable with your word", which discusses how the words with which we communicate can either give us a sense of well being, or can be destructive and dangerous, my ears perked up quickly. Ruiz writes, "If we adopt the first agreement and become impeccable with our word, any emotional poison will eventually be cleaned from our mind and from our communication in our personal relationships, including our pet dog or cat." My husband put the book down, as he leaned on his elbow, turning toward me and said, "We need to consider re-naming Trouble. We may have inadvertently and without intended malice, named him out of our frustration in response to the physical manifestation of his emotional distress. We may be perpetuating his internal conflict. We need to un-do what has turned out to be prophetic." You see, Trouble was really living up to his name with his often self-destructive behavior which often led to major physical damage to his body, which led to our growing frustration. My husband's words struck a deep chord and resonated deeply with me. I knew immediately that he was onto something crucial. Had we inadvertently altered Trouble's relationship with his life? Have we, in imposing this somewhat humorous but potentially depreciating name, unknowingly damaged his self-esteem and perpetuated his pernicious behavior? We express our emotions to our pets with our words, their tones, and even the names we give them. So it stands to reason we can deeply affect them, either negatively or positively. We immediately began to think of alternatives with a similar sound to avoid confusion. He has now been renamed in deference to the fantastic telescope which provides us with amazing photographs of our universe and is, of course a true wonder. Yes, you guessed it, he is now called Hubble. So we need to carefully consider the bottom-line motivation for the names we choose for our furry companions. I hadn't given it much thought, but after listening to Mr. Ruiz's words, you can bet your bottom dollar that we will be much more careful with any future pet, and only bestow upon them a magical name that will be supportive and encouraging. As you think about your pet, have you discovered a relationship between the name you gave and their behavior? Consider the question carefully and leave a comment.
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