What’s in a name?
Naming your animals is the first step in forming an emotional attachment with them.
Posted on: 10th June 2015
I can still remember my first pet, Whiskers, the mouse. Whiskers had a distinct personality, as so did so many of the other animals I have known. One of our dogs, called Fleur, enjoyed burying vegetables. I planted a vegetable patch in autumn and was surprised in March when nothing appeared. I was even more surprised the next month where potato shoots sprung up in their place. Fleur had dug up all the roots and stowed them away (I later found the hoard, licked lovingly clean) and replaced them with potatoes. We also had to learn to keep Fleur away from cauliflowers. She had a habit of burying them in spring and digging them up in early summer, by which time they had acquired the odour of very bad meat.
I have written before about some of the more notable animal characters that we had on our smallholding. All of them had some individual characteristics that were often endearing and occasionally irritating. The cockerel Bagpipes – one of our very first animals – acted as a sort of unpaid foreman, stalking about and keeping a shiny eye on proceedings. Then were was our goats Chance and Snowy – both real characters. I once turned round to see a sardonic smile in Snowy’s eyes as I realised she had eaten the flap of my jacket of my back. I was convinced that Snowy was saying every time I saw her after that, “Jackets to you, my friend.”
I could go on talking about the animals we had – like Rowdy Roo, the noisiest cat we ever had, or Peggity, the puppy who insisted on crawling up my pullover. We were fond of all our animals but we were careful about which animals we named. If you name an animal it is an indication of an emotional bond that will be painful to break if that animal is being reared for the purpose of food. For that reason we decided never to name animals that were destined for the table.