A delightful Bible verse reads: Know your sheep by name; carefully attend to your flocks (Proverbs 27:23). We have no sheep, but everyone else on the place has a name. We usually don’t put much thought into it, though, as critters seem to have a knack for self-christening.
For instance, my favorite Angus, Princess, is a dignified and regal beauty. The heifer Teddy Bear earned her name by virtue of her chubbiness, short legs and tail, and small, fuzzy ears. After she gave birth, she retitled herself Teddy the Terrible Bear because she’s about as protective of her calf (a big guy named Yogi) as a mama grizzly is of her cub.
Our adventurous and high-flying Nigerian Dwarf goat is—who else—Amelia Earhart, also known as Meels (it’s just easier to say). Her round, sweet, blue-eyed, frosty-colored twin is Blueberry.
Our little grey tabby goes by Smokey, short for Holy-smokes-what-a-holy-terror. His nickname, Smokey Pew Mew, is derived from a few of his close encounters with skunks. Just recently, a lean black cat with an infected eye joined our ranks. We dubbed him Spike because he has the same physique and toughness of Snoopy’s brother, and because he reminds Hubby of a human Spike he used to know.
My sweet Quarter Horse mare is Sugar, but due to her chubby, round figure, I often call her Sugar Plum. Hubby has a Tennessee Walker gelding named Solomon, although the only thing he’s wise about is staying away from ornery bulls and protective mama cows.
Both dogs have people names—Jessie and Bodie—because, of course, they are people!
We don’t have to be told to “carefully attend to your flocks”, since we spend the majority of our time, energy and money in making sure that our animals are well-nourished, healthy, safe and comfortable. Hubby says I live by the motto: “If the animals ain’t happy, I ain’t happy.” He adds that “Animal Accommodation Specialist” should be on my résumé, which sounds better than “Pet and Livestock Co-dependent.”
Obviously, Hubby exaggerates my pet-pandering tendencies. I’ll explain my position just as soon as I let the dogs back in the house (it’s hot outside, you know), feed them each a biscuit, fork up the hay that the baler missed in the fields, unload it by the haystack, carry fresh water to the goat pen, let the horses out, cuddle the cats, feed them fresh food because they don’t like the “old” food from this morning, drizzle the dog food with hamburger drippings, put the horses back in the corral, bring the goats into the barn (safe from coyotes), give them some hay and—okay, well, maybe he’s got a point!