Dog Day: How Elsie Got Named

December 5, 2007


People often ask why we named our dog after a cow (you’ve got to be fairly old to get that one). Or perhaps, they think, since we got her through a rescue mission (a story for another day), she already had a name when we got her, and we didn’t want to confuse the pup by changing its moniker to suit our selfish desires.

Actually, she was not yet named when we picked her up that snowy February morning in 2003. And her name had been picked out long, long before little Elsie was a spark in her daddy stud’s eye. In fact, I had chosen the name years before I even thought I’d ever get another dog, something I’d been yearning for since I’d been thrown back into singledom in 1991.

So, the name. Well, after my marriage broke up in 1991, I swore off men for quite some time. It wasn’t that I no longer wanted a man in my life, exactly; it was more like, there is no way on earth I am ever going to trust anyone to even turn on the radio, let alone come into my life and heart and do THAT to me again. So it wasn’t looking good for another relationship. In the meantime, I’d moved into an apartment on my own, had thrown myself into work, and had decided I’d focus on “self-development” to the point that I wouldn’t need a man in my life. Happy to say, after just a leetle, tiny, wee focus on this lofty goal (only six years!), I was able to function on my own, more or less.

What I decided, during those six years, was that I’d get myself another dog, goddamit, no matter what. And that I’d have that dog as my companion, my soul-mate, my company, my true love (no no no, not in that way, you perverts). Just that a dog could be trusted, a dog would be loyal, a dog would be reliable, a dog would remain cute through all its days–exactly all the things my ex-hubby was not.

During that time, though, I lived in a basement apartment, and dogs were strictly verboten. So all I had to hold on to was my dream of getting another pup, with all the time in the world to work on a name (or on Holidailies). And then it came to me: L.C.! Correct: the letters, “L” and “C”. As in, Life Companion. The one I would choose to spend my days with. The one who would replace the awful, temporary, break-your-heart, human companions. Short form: L.C.

What I loved about the name was the double entendre. Of course, I’d know that it actually meant “life companion” (the only one I could truly count on), but in fact, when said aloud, it would sound like the common name, “Elsie.” And so The Girl’s name was born–long before she was!

Little did I know, by 1997 I’d meet the human love of my life, the sweetie with whom I currently share my home and future. And that we’d get that dog ,the one I’d dreamed about, together, and both raise her. And that they’d both bring me joy and smiles, at least once a day.

Now it’s back to working on all the rest of it. 

(“You embarrass me, Mum.  But it does make sense that you’d write about me first, since I am, after all, the older and wiser sibling.”)


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