Part II: How to name a dog
Duke is the dog every affectionate family dreams of having. Loving and obedient to his owners, ferocious – despite his diminutive size – to outside threats, and soft and cuddly to boot. He had eyes that you could read and communicate with. When he was afraid, I’d hold his little face in my hands, stroke his cheeks and I could see his pupils visibly relax, knowing he could trust my love for him. He didn’t know to sit, stay, or fetch, but he’d bound up to us when we came home, wagging his tail so furiously that his little body wagged along with it. Always patient with us and a caring older brother of our other pets, Duke was always there with his unconditional love to make the world feel ok again.
My brother and I adopted the dog above to replace Duke when he died. Duke’s death took a real toll on our family. Ammi and thathi refused to love again, saying they could not bear to go through the cycle of inevitable heartbreak again. As impetuous children will do, my brother and I disregarded their wishes, thinking we knew better, and surprised them with an adopted puppy.
They came around pretty fast though, my mother soon cuddling the pup like a baby and not letting her go.
We let my parents choose a new name for her. They wanted to name her in honour of Duke ‘but it’s a girl, so it should be a female name,’ observed my father.
I started: ‘So Duch-,’
‘Dukie,’ my father continued with finality. I bit my tongue and affirmed, ‘Dukie it is.’