Adopting a Puppy

calliI recently described Henri III’s torture of puppies during his reign. The clown actually wore them, as an adornment!

In that same column, I mentioned that we were adopting a new puppy . . . and she has arrived in our home!

Getting a puppy marks a departure from our normal pattern. Our last three border collies (including the mature lady who still graces our manse) were all “rescues.”

However, we did not feel that Foxy was up to adjusting to another mature dog, since she lost Lyric last winter and her other (long-lived) sister, Tanner.

In my post about Henri III, I shared comments from two letters that C.S. Lewis wrote a century ago to one of his closest friends. Arthur Greeves had gotten a puppy, and Lewis reminded him of the responsibilities of the human member of that relationship.

Lewis wrote that it was cruel, “Unless you are a person with plenty of spare time and real knowledge, it is a mistake to keep dogs . . .”

In a subsequent letter, Lewis advised Greeves on how to choose a name for his puppy.

How’s the poor, miserable, ill-fated, star-crossed, hapless, lonely, neglected, misunderstood puppy getting along? What are you going to call him, or rather, to speak properly, how hight he? Don’t give him any commonplace name, and above all let it suit his character & appearance. Something like Sigurd, Pelleas or Mars if he is brisk and warlike, or Mime, Bickernocker or Knutt if he is ugly and quaint.

We had already chosen the name for our puppy before I found this quotation. But I think Lewis would have approved.

We named our new little girl after one of the Greek Muses, who inspired literature and the arts. Her name is Calli.

If you’re knowledgeable in mythological matters, you will recognize that it’s our nickname for Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry.

Being more of a historian than a poet, I wanted to use the name Clio, who is the Muse of History. Calli fits her better though.

Calliope is a wonderful, musical name though, since she was the chief Muse, and her name literally means “beautiful-voiced.” What a lovely name. I hope Calli learns to sing, like our first border collie, Lady. Lady would accompany my wife as she played the piano. It was quite entertaining.

If you have read this far, you too are likely a pet lover. If you have a dog, cat, rabbit, lemur or whatever, of your own, may the Lord bless it with a long and healthy life . . . just as we pray for our own little Calli.

12 thoughts on “Adopting a Puppy

  1. Calli is the perfect name! A very beautiful pup. I love the list of names that Lewis found suitable, I think Bickerknocker is my favorite in the list, tho quite a mouthful!

    1. Reminds me of one of the chaplains I encountered at my first active duty assignment. His surname was Bickers, which I always thought was a tad misfortunate for a Baptist minister…

  2. May Callie prosper and sing beautifully! I love naming animals and take the task very seriously. Our young bull was so friendly as a calf that he licked everyone and earned the name Mr. Licker. So we went with his breeder’s suggested name, Crown Royal (they live near Canada). I love it because it gives me so much scope for naming his future calves–Crown Prince and Princess, Royal Jester, Royal Diadem, etc. I came up with a list of 125 names for potential calves before the little guy even arrived here, much less bred his first cow! Royal is looking forward to creating 125 calves–but my poor (two) cows are begging me to buy a dozen more to help bear all those Royal babies! ;)

  3. I’m so glad you found the perfect name, with just the right touch of background to make it interesting! My frustration comes when no perfect name is forthcoming– there has been a stray cat wandering around our neighborhood for months now, and not a single name seems to fit it.
    With inanimate objects, though, naming sometimes is all too easy. My family makes fun of me for naming, say, my flute (I christened it Filipe), or the tree in the back yard. But really! It’s a Tulip Laurel, that has golden flowers in the spring! How could I NOT name it Laurelin?

    1. Ah, the joy of naming. And, as you recognize, the awesome responsibility of finding the right name…

      My son adopted a feral cat in Seattle that he sheltered (via an open window) and fed while he lived in a tiny college apartment. Alas, it declined to join him when we graduated and moved. At least he provided it succor during a couple years of its challenging life. He named it “Bitey claws,” a very fitting and affectionate name.

      As of this moment, Calli has earned “Bitey Paws” as a nickname. Fortunately, she will outgrow that (along with those tiny, sharp, puppy-needle-teeth).

  4. Pingback: Pharisaical Cats « Mere Inkling

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