She was handed in to a dog rescue organisation just over a week ago. The reason given was that her owners wanted to put her into kennels while they went on holiday, but hadn't reckoned with the requirement for vaccinations; they said they couldn't afford this, and decided to have her re-homed instead. Some of us have suspicions about behaviour management being an issue, as well as costs; she seems completely untrained, although physically well-cared for.
The vet who checked her over pronounced her one of the finest specimens of a labrador that he'd seen in a long time, perfect size, weight, nature. Excellent! Although he obviously hasn't walked her on a lead or seen her in a sitting room.....
The doggy grapevine being what it is, news of a black labrador bitch (not only a labrador, but a Finest Specimen at that, of course) becoming available for re-homing flew round Northumberland, the friends to whom I had mentioned my wish for just such a dog were notified, and the wheels whirled into motion. And there was me, thinking that this could take months!
Stuff is beginning to accumulate already; treats, toys, blankets, the recycled dog bed, long in storage. And a squatter.....
We realised yesterday that the vet with the discerning eye is also my own vet, the lovely Neil, he whom Kevin hated passionately, and whom, on one memorable occasion, Tosca bit. He rang me this morning, to laugh at me a little, as he does every time a new adoptee enveigles its way into my heart and household, and to say that he had provided the rescue people with the requisite vet's reference.
All seals of approval are now in place, and I will take my new dog into my home as soon as we are confident that she is ready and won't cause my cats to leave home, Tosca to go into a decline due to being over-bounced on, or send me into chiropractic bankruptcy.
Her formal training starts today, as does mine, with a superb dog trainer who produces amazing results while creating a happy, fully-engaged dog having fun with her owner. We hope to become well-socialised creatures, obedient, responsive to a whistle, able to retrieve, sit, stay, have manners with other people's food, and to walk on a lead without one of us having a dislocated shoulder. I'm slightly better at these things than she is. I already know how to watch someone eat a biscuit without puddles of drool dropping from my mouth, but she doesn't. When she's less of a hooligan, she will move in.
There will be photos....
So what to call her? The problem for me has been that most of the names I like have some drawbacks: too girly, or belonging to someone I know, or their mum, or their pet, or their baby, or to remind me of someone else whose attributes I would not wish for my lovely Finest Specimen. Or too similar to the cats' usually-ignored names.
She is a strong dog, and needs a strong name, and as I like meaningful names, preferably that of a strong woman. A Suffragette? Hmm, they had very girly names; Emily featured often. I live in Emily/Lucy/Freya/Lydia land already. Juno? Goddess, protector of women. Maybe. Josephine? Empress of France, could certainly handle a challenge. The diminutives (Jo, Josie, ) were not so appealing, and anyway I once had a lovely cat called Josie, who met a tragic end. Florence (Nightingale)? The Lovely Son was no use - he's so indecisive that his cat still hasn't got a name, after years of living with him, and is addressed as catkins.
I dithered and swithered, drew up a shortlist, tested it on friends, found that everyone had conflicting views, and made my own decision. A Sunday name that pleased me, would suit her when she became a dignified old lady, and had a lively diminutive for everyday use.
So...... she's Florence.
Florence. Flossie. Floss. Sweetiepie. Lovely girl. Clever, clever girl. Good girl! Our new dog.
You have been warned.