Friday, March 11, 2011

Getting To Know Glacier: What's In a Name?

All guide dog programs have different methods to name their puppies. Some schools use a letter of the alphabet in order to keep the litter straight. For instance, Our friend Brooke's, over at Ruled By Paws, school assigns each litter a letter and the raisers are expected to name their puppy a name that begins with that letter. Brooke's guide Cessna was obviously from one of the C litters. What happens if they get to Z? They start right back at A and do it again.
There is a guide dog school in Quebec Canada and they name their dogs according to a theme. One of my friend's dogs came from a litter that we think might have been material or something like that because the dog's name is "Cotton;" pronounced in French.
Leader Dogs for the Blind does not have any such naming protocol. As far as I know, the puppy raisers are given free rein when it comes to naming their little furry bundle of joy. Puppy raisers may implement their own naming program or may just pick names with meaning. Leader Dogs for the Blind has also implemented a rule that allows the students to change the dog's name. I personally choose not to do this because the dog is already a year and a half and is confused enough as it is. Two of my classmates from Glacier's class, chose to change their dogs' names. It worked fine for them, but I opted to stick with Glacier's name.
So where did Glacier come from?
Glacier's puppy raisers lived in Northern Michigan and I thought it had something to do with the months of frozen wilderness, but I was wrong. I also thought that he was named "Glacier" because he is almost white as opposed to a traditional deep yellow. I was a bit closer with that one since his name was a combination of things.
One of Glacier's puppy raisers had worked up in Glacier Bay just before returning home to help raise little Glacier. They decided on Glacier because of her previous post in Glacier Bay and was further convinced when they saw how lightly coloured he was. It's a short, but sweet story. I like that his name has meaning and a story to back it up. I also enjoy that it is a very unique name and that is another reason why I wouldn't change it.
How did your four legged companions get their names?


L^2 said...

I’m enjoying learning more about Glacier. Happy early birthday to the big guy!

GDA does the litter-letter naming as well, and they also have a rule that no two dogs in the program (puppies, breeding stock, and working guides) can have the same name. So, Jack is the only Jack from GDA until he retires. At that time the name can be reused. However, since Jack was donated to the program, he is not a part of any of their J litters. Donated dogs are allowed to be named by the puppy raiser with any name they want (as long as it isn’t already being used). Jack was named after one of his raiser’s best friends, who passed away after a long battle with cancer. Human Jack always loved all the puppies his friend raised, so the raiser thought it was an appropriate commemoration. It’s actually not a name I would ever choose for a dog, because I’m not a fan of common human names for guide dogs (nor am I a big fan of one-syllable names for dogs), but I love that Jack's name has a story behind it, and I really couldn’t imagine giving my boy any other name. Somehow it just suits him. :)

3 doxies said...

Dang, I is learning aaaaall kinds of stuffs heres. Ya'll is so full of informationals dat it just blows my mind.
I would haves thought dat Glacier came from leaving in da cold area but knowing wheres they lived before it toally makes sense now.

Is Balloo okay? Why he at da DR?


Just Jess for now said...

I'm with you and naming guide dogs common people names. What if your grandma's name is Sarah and you come home with a dog named Sarah? Awkward! LOL I love Jack's story! hugs
Puddles: I am glad someone is learning from my rambling. LOL He is ok, maybe you should read his post. :) You never told us how you got your name.

Jen said...

Irish guide dogs does the letter litter thing too.
They try to keep the names from being used twice when a dog is working, but I notice certain names are being used again sooner. There are two guide dogs called Holly, and I currently sponsor a puppy who will hopefully become a guide or assistance dog called Holly.
I don't like the human names either, but names like Jack, Ben etc you can use and they don't sound rediculous for a dog. I have a nephew called Jack though, so I'd have had a problem there. I'd find it hard to change a dog's name though.

The name O.J always gets a great reaction when I tell people his name. He's completely black too of course! and if I had a penny for every time I'm asked if he's named after O.J Simpson I'd be a very rich guide dog owner!

Brooke, Cessna, Canyon & Rogue said...

This is an awesome post and I think I will do the same on my blog, so come read it over there :p

Anonymous said...

I love Glacier's name. We aren't very original around here. Our first dog 35 years ago was Wags. Then came Bear the overgrown blue merle Aussie. Then there was Taffy, the pom. Next was our brendle boxer girl and my son named her, what else, Brendle!!

Then we got the mutt and named her Scooter (her original name at the humane society was Char but we didn't like that) because she runs around the yard like crazy. The red merle Aussie was named Skyler when we got him from the rescue because of his blue eyes and we left his name at that.

Beau the boxer boy had a horrible name and we chose Beau because it was short and simple and we figured he's learn it fast. And he did.

My next dog (whenever and whatever it is) will be named Baron. A good friend who passed away last year from cancer had a dog he loved named Baron. He lost the dog about the time we got Beau and it was too soon to use the name. But my next dog will definitely be Baron.

Torie said...

Our association names the dogs with letters of the alphabet too, unless the pup is sponsored, which means that another organisation or person can name the pup. Some of the pups who are already named can be sponsored too.

I'm really not sure where Ushi came from. I don't know if she was sponsored or just a U litter. I will have to find out who her brothers and sisters are if she has any.

How old will the boy be? Xxx.

Jen said...

I wrote a big long comment here yesterday, so sorry if you get two from me, but I didn't think it posted.

Irish guide dogs does the litter letter naming system too. They try not to repeat names if possible, but I currently sponsor a pup called Holly, who is the third Holly to come into the guide dog programme in the last 10 years. Suppose they run out of ideas for names.

If i had a penny for every time someone asks me if O.J is named after O.J Simpson I'd be a very rich woman! He is totally black though.
I couldn't change a dog's name if I didn't like it, but that was the thing I dreaded most when waiting for a dog. What if I got a name I hated. Thankfully it didn't happen, and his name always gets a good reaction. Even small kids like to tell me that they know how to spell his name!!

Just Jess for now said...

Jen: I was just slower at moderating than I usually am. LOL Don't kids say the greatest things? I worried too that I wouldn't like my dog's name, but thankfully both of my guides have had fantastic names.
Tory: You should ask the foundation where her name came from. It's kind of fun to know. :)
Sherlock: I think naming a dog after someone is one of the best ways to remember that person. And as for the other dogs' names, at least they were easy to remember. :)
Brooke: on my way over.