Well, following the Emu’s previous blog on The Big Decision On Becoming Dog-Owners, we’ve finally agreed the way forward. As a result, we made the all important call to the breeder a couple of weeks ago, and had a discussion that I suspect we’d find more familiar had we ever tried to wedge one of our kids into Eton. It appears that when you decide to buy a dog from a respectable breeder, the interview kind of goes in the opposite direction to the one you’d expect, and it’s really up to you to pass the interview on whether you’re really qualified to own a dog. I’m not sure that we had the equivalent of this qualification when we first contemplated bringing kids into our world, but that may say something about the society we live in. Anyway, we passed the audition about whether we’d be fit to take on a puppy, and, given that there was a national waiting list and two large litters, we were duly allocated ‘bitch number 7’ and given a 90 minute viewing appointment in February, at which we will be paired with the ‘right’ puppy.
At which point, there was a suitable amount of what Hank Williams might have called ‘a’whooping and a’hollering’. I don’t think I’d realised just how much everyone else in the family actually wanted this puppy, and the sight of four people jumping up and down like they were on individual trampolines will stay with me for some time. And might be referred back to when the dog needs walking at six in the morning when it’s teeing it down with rain.
And that’s when the real challenge of naming the dog started coming in. At our allotted time in February, we’ve received instructions that we need to provide a small snap collar that is marked with the puppy’s name. This means that we not only need to have sorted a name by then that won’t sound ridiculous to the breeder, but also will a) mean something and b) be acceptable as something that can be called out in public and at the vet’s. For example, where we live, if we name a dog Elsie or Ruby and call it in the park, there’s a fair chance that we’ll be mobbed by ten year old girls in floral dresses and T-bar sandals.
And the meaning thing is a big deal as well. My absolute favourite ever name that we’ve come up with (thanks to our chums N&N) is Brilleaux, after the wonderful, wonderful Lee Brilleaux, who I mentioned here earlier and who really deserves some sort of recognition in the Emu home. I carefully worked out a hustings and lobbying plan for this name, and canvassed all members of the family to get them to vote in the right direction, but was eventually worn down by the counter-lobby (which I suspect may have been led by my wife, who has been heard in the past to say that ‘All Doctor Feelgood songs sound the same’). The counter-lobby finally won, with a text from #1, stating firmly that Brilleaux was ‘only suitable for a ‘boy dog”.
We also have a slight problem with other ‘meaning’ names, and my not-so-subtle attempts at calling a dog after my heroes have met similar obstacles. And as a result, Tegla (Loroupe), Grete (Weitz), (Alf) Tupper and Tuppy (Glossop) have been received with a certain amount of sniffiness by the committee.
Fortunately, I work in an industry that prides itself on knowing one end of a data based decision from another. And, if there’s one thing that I’ve learnt from a career in careful observation of management actions, setting strategic direction and addressing important opportunities for process improvements (and so on), it’s that by turning very important data into attractive red, amber and green colours, you can make the whole exercise of making decisions far easier. So, taking our shortlist of potential names, and taking all feedback into consideration, we arrived at the following table (pls note #2 might not have been taking the exercise entirely seriously):
Oh, I forgot to also mention that I’ve also learnt from observing management actions, setting strategic direction and addressing important opportunities for process improvements (and so on), that this is also an excellent way to hide behind the reality of actually having to do anything. And because it’s unlikely that our breeder is actually going to allow us to call our new member of the family ‘Bitch Number 7’, and because the really valid name (Brilleaux) has been outlawed, we’ll do whatever any responsible business leader will do, and make a decision by completely ignoring the management information and going with our gut instinct.
Which is what we’ve done.