Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How do you not click on a story that says "Shakespeare Puppies"? I mean, come on.

"Shakespeare Puppies Appeal bags some cash," the headline read.  Now what am I supposed to do with that?

Turns out to be a fundraiser for a project that, are you ready for this, "aims to provide 25 guide dogs, each of which will be named after a Shakespeare character." They've already started with Juliet and hope to follow with Hamlet, Titus, Troilus, Othello...

On the one hand I love this idea.  Whenever the task of naming something comes up, I always start with "Can I name it from Shakespeare?"  (Remind me to tell you a funny story about that later in this post.)  So I love the idea of dogs named for Shakespeare.  I'm usually outvoted in my own personal life, otherwise I'd be surrounded by such things.

But...doesn't the ultimate owner of a guide dog get to name it?  Maybe I don't understand, but that seems unusual.  When we got our dog we didn't ask what her name already was. We named her.

And how about the choices they rattled off in the article?  How about adoption day for the poor guy that gets Troilus?  "I can't wait, this is so cool, I love the idea that my dog is going to be named from Shakespeare, maybe I'll get Iago or Hamlet or Brutus.....wha....who the heck is Troilus?"

(*) When you install new Unix machines on a network you have to give them a name. Sometimes there is already a naming scheme in place, sometimes you get to start one.  This was a new team with all new computers, and I had two to install which I named Macbeth and Macduff.  As new machines came up I continued naming from Shakespeare - Lear, Othello, Hamlet, Iago...  Well eventually we hired dedicated IT people to do this, and the chief IT guy who had a sense of humor on him decided that the original naming scheme was actually "mac-" words.  So he began naming machines "macncheese", "macgruff", "macfly", "macjagger" and so on (yes, he was playing fast and loose with the mac/mc thing).  Then another IT guy got in on the act decided that "macfly" was really supposed to be "80's movie catch phrases" and named a machine "bueller".  I wish I could remember all the different directions it spun from there.


kj said...

Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the pups of war!

I can't resist mentioning that the name of the dog in the 1929 film version of Taming of the Shrew with Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks was, in fact, Troilus.


amybillingham said...

i don't actually know for sure, but it's possible that if they are trained guide dogs, they need to have a name that they are trained to respond to?

Fester said...

Guide dogs are raised by volunteer families where they are housebroken and receive basic obedience training and are socialized to be around people and other dogs. They do not begin guide dog training until, they are about 12 to 18 months old. So they need to be named early--like any other puppy so they can be trained to respond to their handlers.