What does it mean when your dog has more nicknames than your kids or husband?
In our family, I am usually the giver of nicknames. They come from some hidden recess of my brain, like story voices used to materialize when I would read aloud to our kids every night. I didn’t consciously plan how to modulate my speech, but when I read, the character’s distinctive voice was there.
‘Grew, The ‘Grew, ‘Grewsters, Peti (used rarely), Le ‘Grew Sportif, Sir ‘Grew, have all become synonymous for Pettigrew. He answers to these alternate names; that is, as much as he answers to any name.
Different names capture different moods and moments.
‘Grewsters is a term of endearment when I want him to come for a walk, collect a treat, or lick a pan.
‘Grew or The ‘Grew is what I use when I am talking or texting about him. As in, “Guess what, The ‘Grew and I are going for a walk so you won’t need to take him out when you get home.” My husband especially enjoys receiving these texts.
Le ‘Grew Sportif…I don’t know from where that one came. Even my kids were surprised. But it spilled forth one day and stuck. It’s a nice catchall name. [Darling husband just fessed up to the fact that he is the originator of this name! Apparently, he was inspired by the sports apparel company Le Coq Sportif. Hmmm?]
Sir ‘Grew is when our dear dog strikes a pose or becomes self-consciously proud. At these moments, he aspires to having royal blood in his lineage.
But these nicknames are really family names, intimate. When one of my kids’ friends calls him ‘Grewsters, I bristle. It’s too familiar, verging on presumptuous. I barely hold myself back from glaring and correcting, “his name is Pettigrew.” After all, would Pettigrew care?
As for the fact that Pettigrew has more nicknames than my other family members? In truth, I haven’t counted. Some questions are best left unanswered….Let’s just say he’s easy to love.