Friday, January 9, 2009

What's In A Name?

Do you ever wonder how the Carolina Canines service dogs are named?Every service dog entering training receives a name that is biblically based. It is not always an easy process and the name initially selected may not be the name that the dog ends up with.

First, if a service dog has been placed or is in training, that name will not be used again. Next, a search starts with the day of the year and looking at the scripture in the bible for that day. This usually happens after we have picked up a puppy or two so we know we need a male or female name or both. If we have received several puppies from the same litter, we try to name the puppies within a family group. If it is a seasonal time of year, like Christmas, we may name the puppy something to do with the time of year, such as Joy or Holly or Star. Then there is the need to have a one, two or three syllable name so it is easier for the puppy to learn it’s name. And, we prefer not to use common names such as Peter or Mary or names that can be shortened. We will also look for names with specific meanings. For example, using one of many internet tools, we may ask “what names have the meaning of blessed?”, and then use a name with that meaning which may be of various cultural descent. We also test the name against some of the common training commands so the name is not too close to a command that is frequently used (Levi is too close to the command ‘Leave It’).

Once a name is selected, we say it over and over and over again to see if we like the sound of it. And, then we test the name with the puppy to see if the name fits. The puppy is usually named when it is goes to its’ foster family to raise, but sometimes for our families that have fostered multiple service dogs for us, we let them help select the name. Of course, final approval is always the responsibility of the CCFS staff.

So, the next time you meet one of our service dogs or service dogs in training, you’ll know just what has gone into finding that perfect name.

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