At some schools, dogs are named alphabetically. Everyone in the same litter has a name beginning with the same letter, and you can tell who’s related to whom. Sometimes the staff pick the names, sometimes they come out of a computer. At GDF, it works a little differently. You can sponsor a dog for $6000, and part of what that gets you is the right to name a dog. And some people abuse that right.
I’m not going to go into names of current dogs, because people are out there working those dogs, and it’s not right to single them out. I have a girl dog with a boy’s name, but I’m pretty okay with that. Some people have dogs with long names that are silly or hard to pronounce. Of course, there are some perfectly decent and simple ones – there are a zillion black labs named Midnight or Shadow, and a ton of golden retrievers and yellow labs named Goldie. And some have nice human names, although I always worry about the person who gets a dog with their spouse’s name. The dog’s had it for a few years already, so what are you going to do? People do change their dog’s names, but it’s a bit of a process, I suspect.
One very popular name is Buddy, partly because there are lots of dogs by that name, and partly because it was the name of the first guide dog in the US, so people think they’re being all historical and stuff. It’s a perfectly fine name for a non-working dog. But the fact is, every third person on the street or so is going to come up wot your dog and say, “Hey, buddy!” And what do you know, that’s the dog’s name, and it responds! That’s the last thing someone needs while they’re working a dog. Not that people should approach working dogs anyway, but they do.
I think the worst name you could give a working dog would be Doggie. Because every time I walk down the street with Ms. Pup, eighty bazillion people of all ages yell, “DOGGIE!” at her. And she ignores them, because, thank goodness, it’s not her name. Fortunately, no one names guide dogs Doggie, but if they did, that poor handler would be under a truck in five minutes.