This post by Gayle M. Irwin
His name is Jeremiah, and no, he’s not a bullfrog! Back in the early 1970s, a song by Three Dog Night rose up the charts and remained at #1 for several weeks. “Joy to the World” starts off “Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine….” See the delightfully-cartooned video below:
On my post last week, I mentioned that my husband and I were adopting a new dog and the reasons for that. I also mentioned we planned to re-name the dog. Greg and I had a list of names; ones I liked he didn’t and vice-versa. So, we began looking at other possibilities, including “Yaddy” (Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals award-winning baseball catcher); “Jackson” – a town in western Wyoming (we had “Cody” already, another Wyoming town, so that was out); and “Joseph” (our other dog is Mary, but that just seemed too strange to have “Joseph” as well). So, we explored other options. Because we are Christians, we went through a list of Biblical names (of course, Mary, is in the Bible, so another Biblical name could be appropriate, just not “Joseph”) – we decided “Jeremiah” fit.
The name means “exalted of the Lord,” or “appointed by God.” We truly believe this little dog was appointed to be ours – we went through many inquiries about dogs not only at this facility (Hearts United for Animals), but also via a few other, more local, shelters and sanctuaries. “Stormy” at that time was the one still available. And, perhaps he will be exalted living in our house – certainly he has been from the horrible conditions of a puppy mill. So, as I mentioned in last week’s post, new home, new life, new name. He is still learning his name, but he’s a smart little guy, and he’s quickly learning a lot of new things: commands, like “sit” and “come;” housetraining (puppy mill dogs are rarely, if ever, living in a home – generally they are kept in tiny cages outdoors; and how to interact with cats. He is also learning about toys and cuddles – and liking both!
Everything is new to him. He barks at the TV. He is afraid of going down steps (but he’s acclimated to going up them, hopping like a rabbit!). He’s never been groomed except at the shelter with just scissors, so his trip to the “doggie spa” yesterday was frightening. Thankfully, and as I suspected would happen, our Mary-dog has become a wonderful “big sister” – she is helping to teach him many things, including (1) going potty outdoors is more fun than indoors because there are trees and bushes to smell and a big yard to explore; (2) a person’s hand is not always for abusing, but most often (at least in this household) for affectionate pats and pets; (3) sleeping on a comfy bed is WONDERFUL; and (4) having friends, both human and other animal, is FANTASTIC!
Jeremiah rode very well in the car from Nebraska to Wyoming; we overnighted in North Platte so we could all have a break. Considering his background, Greg and I were happily surprised that our new dog didn’t get motion-sick. I held him on my lap for a while and then he rode sweetly in the backseat beside Mary.
This is our first puppy mill rescue dog (you can read more about this nasty places on my pet blog from this week: www.gaylemirwin.com/blog). Mary was adopted through English Springer Spaniel Rescue, but she didn’t come from an abusive, horrific, neglectful background; she was loved and cared for but her special person died unexpectedly, and therefore, the rescue helped to re-home her. Cody, our cocker who passed last year, was a stud dog, and at 10, the people let him go; so though his background was somewhat similar to Jeremiah, Cody was treated better and was housebroken and used to, at least some, affection. He was turned over to the Casper Humane Society. And Sage had just recently lost her home due to a divorce. So, each of our dogs have their own story; each also came from a different place and a different state (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Nebraska).
I’ve christened Jeremiah with a middle name: “Story.” It’s similar to “Stormy” and therefore, has a familiar sound to his previous name, but, most importantly, it reflects what I do (write stories) and the fact that he, story and dogs like him, have a story. Needless to say, there will be a “Jeremiah Story” book one of these days!
The journey continues. Travel, a new home, vet visit, and doggie spa, all in less than one week. “Jeremiah’s Journey” is probably a great title for a book — maybe I better get on that pretty soon!
What pet adoption stories do you have? What ones have you written? Or is there one you should write if you haven’t? Do you struggle with names for your book/story characters as Greg and I did with our new dog’s name? How do you come up with names for your characters?
Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning Wyoming author and freelance writer. Her inspirational pet books for children and adults teach valuable life lessons, such as courage, perseverance, friendship, and nature appreciation. She is also a contributing writer to magazines and newspapers, as well as Chicken Soup for the Soul, including the August 2017 release Chicken Soup The Dog Really Did That? Gayle is a pet rescue and adoption advocate. Learn more about her and her work at www.gaylemirwin.com.