Weekly Reflection 12.4: What’s in a Name?

Every week I will write a post to reflect on the previous week. Sometimes the post will focus on a specific topic that was of great consequence that week. Other times it’ll be a more free-form reflection on life.

Last weekend I reached the conclusion that I need to change my dog’s name.

I come from a superstitious people1. I also happen to be absolutely awful at coming up with names. I blame the shortness of my name and its total lack of meaning2. My oldest sister on the other hand, is awesome at coming up with names. All her childrens’ names, first or middle, refer to someone beloved who has passed in our family. But she manages to never do this in a direct, in-your-face kind of way. One of my favorites is my oldest niece’s middle name, Lia, which manages to refer to two of her great grandmothers: Herzliya and Leah. Makes me smile. But anyway, I digress. Like seriously.

When I first named Ozzie I did so in reference to the only dog my parents own before my all-important existence on this planet. This was back in the old country. And it’s one of those things that I always hear stories about and kind of wish that they hadn’t had me so freaking late so I could have been a part of the story instead of just an audience to its retelling. See this dog was found abandoned, flea-infested and hungry. When my parents got hold of him they washed him and fed him and in his gratitude a new kind of companionship was born that neither party thought would ever end. My parents named him Oz3. Unfortunately for everyone, my parents lived in an apartment with three small-ish kids (OK so unfortunately in this context, otherwise, pretty fortunately). A powerful and daring dog was the last thing they needed to throw into the mix. And after some difficult4 discussion they realized that they just couldn’t cope, and the best thing for everyone would be to find a home for Oz where he would be able to be his energetic and curious self. So they gave him away to some friends who lived on a farm-type establishment with plenty of land for him to explore and plenty of ways for him to expend his energy.

We were telling all of this to Chelsea5 while trying to explain to her why I was so worried about Ozzie’s adjustment to living in an apartment in the city when it dawned on me that I couldn’t have picked a worst name for him. And so after nearly a week of deliberation and probably bugging the hell out of everyone involved6 he has officially been redubbed Milo. Though the name is not in reference to anything or anyone in specific, it does actually make me think of several things I love7 which is exactly what a name should do, I think.

Of course, Milo couldn’t8 care less, he can’t hear what we call him anyway. Whenever I tell anyone who knows him – my vet, his caretakers at the doggie daycare – they laugh a little but tell me they’ll change it in their systems. Still, for some reason it has brought a level of peacefulness to me regarding this worry that continued to plague me as my9 move into the city neared. It makes me feel that I’ve taken another active step10 in ensuring that we will make it work!


  1. Except for my dad, he thinks we’re all crazy for the most part
  2. Don’t tell mom and dad
  3. Meaning power/strength, though I always thought it was the same root as the word for daring “as in how dare he do that?!” but that’s where Hebrew is both awesome and confusing at times
  4. At least I imagine them to be difficult and tear-filled etcetera etcetera
  5. The awesome trainer of http://www.chelseatuning.com and co-founder of http://www.deafdogsoforegon.org – she didn’t ask me to advertise her by the way, she was just awesome so I want to!
  6. Sorry everyone involved
  7. The dad’s speech at the end of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the name of the main character from one of my favorite animated films Atlantis
  8. Could? Couldn’t? this literally LITERALLY always confuses me. Someone help!
  9. Very exciting and long-awaited
  10. Along with training, finding him a doggy daycare, getting him on a regular walking schedule
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