© 2010 Aaron Atkinson

What’s In a Name

Picking a name for a child or a pet is serious business. Over the years you’ll say that name millions of times, so you’d better pick a good one. When it came to naming my puppy to be, I was feeling the pressure.

As a working (read: hunting) dog, her name had to be short. I’d be the laughing stock of the field if I were yelling after Clementine, Marshmallow or Snowflake. And since she had to follow a series of basic commands, a name that rhymed with a command simply wouldn’t do; so I kissed Cashmhere, McBheel, Snwhoa and Fletch goodbye. Third, her name couldn’t be the same as common words we’d use while hunting; so I scratched Rooster, Birdy, Hunter and Shooter. And finally, her name had to be meaningful, I wanted it to speak to her famous heritage, and above all else it had to be cool.

With these harder-than-you-might-think constraints in the way, I struggled mightily to find a name that worked. But as these things often do, the answer presented itself at a moment when I least expected it…

It was a drizzly, early December night in 2007. I was in Liberty playing board games at a friend’s house. When game night got boring, we decided to watch a movie.

Our host slid Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade into the DVD player.

Connery: Junior?

Ford: Yes, sir.

Connery: It is you, Junior.

Ford: Don’t call me that. Please.

Big Bearded Guy: Please, what does it always mean, this… this Junior?

Connery: That’s his name. Henry Jones… Junior.

Ford: I like Indiana.

Connery: We named the dog Indiana.

Big Bearded Guy: The dog? (Laughing) You’re named after the dog?

Ford: I’ve got a lot of fond memories of that dog.

Those words spoke to me like they had come straight from the bird hunting gods. Her name would be short, it would have no rhymes, we’d never use it circumstantially while hunting, Henry (Hank) was a perfect reference to her famous grandpa, I’d been in the presence of dear friends when the idea came to me, and the Indiana Jones series was super cool (well, three out of four were.)

Yes. I’d name the dog Indiana… Indie.

I’ve got a lot of fond memories of this dog.


  1. Posted October 22, 2010 at 11:55 am | #

    MacGuyvery would have been cooler.

  2. Aaron Atkinson
    Posted October 25, 2010 at 3:10 pm | #

    Too many syllables, no?

  3. BK
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 12:04 am | #

    My first dog as an adult was Pudd’n’Head

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