Tuesday, March 21, 2006

With All Due Respect to Sam IV

My cousin-in-law has a fourth generation named cat. “Sam IV”. As we talked about Sam IV recently, my cousin-in-law said, “Haven’t you ever had a pet that was so cool, that every pet after him had to be named after him?”

I just smiled at this question – a polite non-answer. But inside I was thinking, “No. NO! What are you, a freak?”

There have been several pets in my family, but three dogs have really truly had my heart. Shamsky was two when I was born, and adopted me as his own. Copper came into our family in Shamsky’s twilight years, and lived until I was just out of college. And then of course, there’s Most Beautiful Dog, the furry peg of my heart.

Shamsky was an angel dressed in harlequin fur – never a mean bone in his body, nor a scoldable thought in his head. If any pet were the epitome, it would be he. Legend has it that even as a pup, there was just nothing “bad dog” about Shamsky. He lived to be 17 years old. He died the day after I returned from summer youth camp. I’ve often wondered if he waited for me to come home, to say goodbye before he left us.

Copper couldn’t have been more opposite. A wired, destructive, neurotic pain in the butt. But adorable, affectionate, and sweet. We loved him, and it was lucky for him. If any dog were destined for the pound, it was Copper! But he knew a bunch of suckers when he saw them. My parents gritted their teeth and never gave up on him – and in time he became a wonderful pet.

Around the age of 3, Copper developed an illness for which he had to take medication for his entire life. The meds which offered him a better quality of life would also shorten it, and he died at the age of 9. I’d been on my own for several years, but I still bawled like a baby with his passing.

Most Beautiful Dog came around many years later. He was heart wrenchingly darling and we adored him beyond reason, but man did he test us. He was so much like Copper – run through different spray booths, but same frame and body style. Not to mention just as rowdy, high-strung, and inherently evil as a puppy. We could NOT take our eyes off of him for a moment. There were times we cried in frustration as we raised him and he tested us to the brink of our wits end. But eventually we got him trained, he grew out of his puppymania, and he is an absolutely wonderful family member now. Anyone who’s spent any time on my blog will know how much MBDog is loved in our home.

To me, each of these boys was/is a great, loving, wonderful pet. More than a pet, really. They’re my brothers, and my son. And just as I wouldn’t name my children after any previous children, it wouldn’t even cross my mind to do that with my pets. None of my pets were replaceable. And while using the same name really wouldn’t be saying they are, it hits a little too close to home for me. They’re all unique – how can I give them identical monikers?

I have prayed from the day we adopted MBDog that he will live a long, healthy life. Hub and I look forward to relishing the special bond Incrediboy and MBDog will share as they grow up together. A boy and his dog is a very special thing to see. And when it’s MBDog’s time to go, I know I will grieve harder than with any other dog before him – because he is truly, fully mine. Because I love him so much. Because he is one of a kind.

In turn, when the time comes - our next dog will be given a new name, fitting for him. Chosen just for him. Like the others, it’s what he deserves. His own title to represent his own personality.

Maybe I’m the freak. But with all due respect to Sam IV and all the way back to The First Sam, I’m not on board with generational pet names. My dogs ~ my sweet boys ~ unique from one another and all loved so deeply ~ deserve their own crowns.

13 comments:

Bainwen Gilrana said...

Well, sure they all deserve their own names! They all have different personalities, these beautiful furbabies, so it's not fair to them to expect them to live up to someone else's name!

martie said...

Perhaps it's more a lack of creativity on the part of your brother-in-law than anything else. I would never name one pet after another.....it just wouldn't be right!

Itchy said...

I would never, ever dream of giving my new dogs a previous dog's name. NEVER! That would seem wrong to the new dog and the previous dog. My dogs are all so very special to me and they each deserve their own name. But...isn't that just exactly what you said? :P

Rebecca said...

I agree wholeheartedly. They're individual "people", just as we are. They're our furkids!

To this day, I still can't read the poem "the Rainbow Bridge" without bawling.....

I've loved my pets... every last one of them. :)

naive-no-more said...

What a nice little write up commemorating each of your dear kanine buddies.

And because I'm your best friend, I can say that while MBDog is "trained" he's still a mischievious stink pot! Much like his mama & papa!

Nelly said...

We always had dogs growing up...one we called moon (a little white dog), one we called snickers (he had the colors of a snicker bar), boston (I don't know where we came up with that), he was the black lab that bit me in the face, we had a little maltese called roscoe and then another maltese called crisco and now my parents have another maltese names cloey. She is old and probably won't be around very long. Even with all the great memories I have had with our pets, to this day, I have never bought one since moving out (10 years ago). I know it would be great for the kids, I just can't see myself being able to take care of it and the mess they make along with everything else I do. It just seems like too much.

Lori said...

I agree with you completely. Once in awhile, with our surplus of cats, we'll throw a Jr. in there if we have a second generation tabby or such, but everyone gets their own name: G.T., Cooners, Baby Jae, Smokey, Lil' Bit, Bobcat, Ferret/aka Spooky, Professor, Tanner, Olivia, Sylvester, Sinatra, and Simone. Guess that covers everyone...until Jae has her babies (any moment now!) Anyone wanna cat??

Kodijack said...

Everybody deserves their own names, pets included. Heck, thats part of the fun of having a pet.

bigwhitehat said...

My last 6 dogs have been named Dog.

Ocean said...

My brother got a new puppie about this time last year. Named him Cowboy. Then a month ago his got another one. My daughter named this one Cowgirl :)

theresa said...

*sniff* ... you sure know how to make a girl cry ... lovely post.

Kristi said...

I couldn't agree more. Every being is unique and of their own and therefore is deserving of their own "crown." Never heard of generation pet naming.

Tirithien said...

When we had foster pups back when I was little, there were of course doubles- 517 pups through the years ensures it- but with our keepers, there never has been.

There can never be another Gator, with her beautiful coat and soft eyes, another Bandit jumping our back fence, another Tina headbutting her way back in the thouse, any more than there can be another one of one of us.