9.20.12 My name is “Milky-Toe”

20 Sep

Louise’s back toes are all white on the left and mostly white on the right.  She has what we call here at the zoo: “Milky Toes.”  I am not exactly sure where the name came from, I only know that K8 has a stuffed dog toy ever since she was a little girl that she named “Milky-Toe.”  No one knows, or remembers, why.  We thought about naming Louise that when we first adopted her, but the name ‘Louise’ just seemed to fit her so well, so we kept it.  (Note: They also wanted to name her ‘Harlo,’ which would really not have fit now that I know her.)

Names are funny things.  I used to name Peanut’s stuffed animals (of which she had a zillion) either after the person or state that they came from.  She has a rabbit named Carolina, a lamb named Larry…  you get the idea.  It not only made it easier to name things but it also helped my old brain remember, who or where.  But ‘Milky-Toe?’  Well, it kind of makes sense if you think that Lulu’s back paws were dunked in a vat of milk or white paint, but, I just didn’t want to run around the dog park calling for ‘Milky-Toe.’

Names are really powerful things.  “A common concept in history is that knowing the name of something or someone gives one power over that thing or person. This concept occurs in many different forms, in numerous cultures—in ancient and primitive tribes, as well as in Islamic, Jewish, Egyptian, Vedic, Hindu, and Christian tradition,” – Loren Graham, MIT and Harvard University.  The act of naming, a religious ritual for many, is important on many levels.  Think about what it means when you know someone’s, or something’s name.  In the human world, knowing someone’s name gives you the ability to contact them, to interact personally.  You can’t find someone’s phone number if you don’t know their name and you definitely can’t Google them (that was a blog joke – LOL).

But is it the same with a dog?  If you know a dog’s name, will it respond differently if it does not know you?  Is it more likely to come to you if you call it.  Does “Here, Lulu” from a stranger work any better than “Here, doggie?”  In humans you have to fear this knowledge (especially people calling your children by name who they do not know), but I am not so sure in animals.

I used to just accept the name of an animal when I adopted it, not realizing that it was probably given to it just yesterday by the rescuer, or when it was picked up from the street or at the shelter.  They know the sound of their name, but of course not what their name means in human language.  All they understand is ‘Oh, they are referring to me.  That is my sound (Luluuuuu).’  That is why you can name a Bull Mastiff ‘Tinker Bell’ or a Yorkie ‘Killer,’ what you name him or her is not really important.  The fact that you can call the animal by name, now that is everything.  That is the power of connection, of knowing, of intimate knowledge.  Since I turned this whole name thing around and am looking at it from the animals point of view, I realize that the names I pick for them are more important for me than for them:  I guess I could have called her ‘Milky-Toe’ after all.

How do you decide what to name your pets?

Just another DogDaz morning at the zoo ❤


Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Dogs


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18 responses to “9.20.12 My name is “Milky-Toe”

  1. bumpyroadtobubba

    September 20, 2012 at 00:26

    Great post! Bella’s name at the rescue was “Destiny”. When I first saw her photo online I lived in an apartment (not dog friendly), so I printed out a photo of her and wrote: “My destiny” above it. Then I found a house, moved and called to see if she was still available (I called almost every day in between too). Miraculously she was, so I met her and the following day she became my destiny, but I didn’t think Destiny suited her. She was such a beautiful puppy and I’m a total Italophile and as I’d yet to have a Bubba, Bella she became. It suits her perfectly. Bear is actually Bear’s middle name. His first name is Edward (so he’s Teddy Bear)! Bear he always was to me and again, it is a name that is perfect for him. He looks like a bear but he’s inside just a teddy bear. Also, as a funny side fact, I am a total Twilight Tragic, so it’s quite funny that I ended up with dogs named Bella and Edward 😉

    • dogdaz

      September 20, 2012 at 07:42

      How Sweet and funny – Bella and Edward. Love the story of your Destiny, you should write a blog about it. 🙂

  2. Genevieve Petrillo

    September 20, 2012 at 05:47

    It was easy to name Cupcake. She was so sweet and so little, it was just the perfect name for her. Her name in the rescue was KaKa. (HUH??!!)

    • dogdaz

      September 20, 2012 at 07:44

      OH KAKA is not a good name for anyone you are right – she is a perfect CUPCAKE.

  3. themisadventuresofmisaki

    September 20, 2012 at 06:03

    My mummy and daddy called me Misaki because it means beautiful blossom in japanese which they liked:-)

    • dogdaz

      September 20, 2012 at 07:45

      And you are a beautiful blossom for sure

  4. Jodi

    September 20, 2012 at 10:51

    Delilah’s was easy since we already had Sampson. 🙂 When we adopted her they referred to her as Ginny, but she didn’t respond to that anymore than she did to Delilah, so I figured why not? I think it fits her, although I would have been perfectly happy calling her Ginny, Delilah was my husband’s caveat to adopting her.

    • dogdaz

      September 20, 2012 at 16:13

      Well caveats must be honored. Delilah is a great and powerful name.

  5. Angel&Chaos

    September 20, 2012 at 11:32

    Our mommies didn’t actually name Angel Angel. They were just saying how much of an angel she was as a baby or that she’s their little angel (plus the fact that they got her from a shop called Heavenly Blue) that the name just kinda stuck. Then they found me! I was already named Chaos when they decided to adopt me. They never really thought about it then but whenever they were asked what our names were, they always had comments about how cool our names are, Angel and Chaos, opposites in every way :).
    Then they named the puppies Rain, Storm, Ice and Hale. and they are little forces of nature those kids 🙂

    • dogdaz

      September 20, 2012 at 13:51

      How wonderful those names are. Humans can be so creative, can’t they be. Be careful what you ask for, mother nature has a funny way of delivering. BOL Thanks for commenting. Welcome to DogDaz.

  6. Bassas Blog

    September 21, 2012 at 02:50

    I love the term “Milky Toes.” Very lovely and a very apt description for Louise’s back toes 🙂

    • dogdaz

      September 21, 2012 at 16:19

      Thanks – K8 felt like her doggie dolly was now famous

  7. Misty Shores Chesapeakes

    September 22, 2012 at 22:52

    Great post!! Milky toes, love that name 🙂

    I have been known to spend many, many hours pouring over the internet googling names for my dogs…lol Riva is the name of a little town in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay, why, well because I wanted something that was from the native state of Chessie’s but it had to sound feminine, Maia and Titan are from Greek mythology, just a mood I was in…lol Cheyenne I didn’t name, she came to me when she was a little over one from my friend when I lost my first Chessie, although I have know her since she was born.

    • dogdaz

      September 23, 2012 at 07:17

      I live on the Chesapeake not far from Riva, but I live in ‘Arnold.’ Maybe that will be your next boy. LOL

  8. kdkh

    September 29, 2012 at 11:58

    Two or three years ago, we adopted a Craig’s list dog who’d had a young woman as his owner for 10 months. The dog’s name was Peanut, which she’d called him the whole time she owned him. We could never, ever get him to respond to that name. Being a small dog, we thought Peanut was a bit demeaning, anyway. While he refused to respond to his name, I started calling him “Nutty” because he was a bit of a clown. That stuck almost immediately. He wanted to leave that old name behind with the neglectful former owner, and we honored that. Now, he also responds to Nut-butt, Nutball, Nutster, and Nutkins — everything except Peanut. So I think animals have a preference in their names – mostly that they be given with affection.

    • dogdaz

      September 29, 2012 at 14:23

      So true – I love Nut-butt! That is great. T.S. Elliot said that cats have a thousand names and absolutely the ones that hold bad memories should be out the door. Thanks for the comment.


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