THE NAME GAME
If you ever chose to go through the RESQCT website, it says that RESQCT gives a name to every animal admitted for treatment.
Names give everyone an identity.
They transform our interactions with an animal from impersonal to personal. We form a connection with the animal and become invested in it’s progress and recovery. Naming all of our patients makes them more precious to us!
Take for example, the 21 lab-rescued Beagles that were brought to RESQCT for rehabilitation. Their names were chosen in homage to western pop icons after we had observed all of them for a few hours. A favorite, named Miley was a bubbly female who wouldn't retract her tongue even when her mouth was closed. Sia was reserved for the small shy girl who took her time to trust us. An alpha male who constantly tried to assert his dominance upon his kennel mates, irrespective of sex, was named George. And the heaviest, pudgiest Beagle of the lot, who only cared about belly rubs and food was called Led, because he was a Zeppelin; a blimp in every sense of the word.
One can imagine, over the course of ten years, so many names must have been used and reused at RESQCT. Generic adjective names like Brownie or Blacky or quintessential Indian names like Rani, Raja, Moti, Pillu, Mani (for a cat) can cause a lot of confusion. At one point there were four different Ranis housed in separate wards! This was before our online system existed, and every time a caller walked in asking for an update about "Rani" it would take us forever just to determine which dog they were referring to!
So, a new blanket rule was made.
The most common of these names were never to be used. And if, a past name needed to be repeated, an animal of the same name shouldn't be at the RESQCT Centre at the same time.
With an average of fifteen new incoming cases coming in daily, giving every one of them names is one of the biggest challenges that the RESQCT Team in the Out Patient Clinic faces.
Some of the names we choose are endearing. Take for example, Hope, a name given to a lovely white dog whose leg was terribly severed off in a horrific train accident. Hope was what all of us harbored as we worked to get her along her long and painful road to recovery. And Hope reinforced the feeling in us by making a stunning recovery!
Then we have the names that literally describe the condition that the animal is brought to the centre in. This includes Tarzan, a dog covered in tar; and Almond, a cat whose eye had popped out of its socket during a fight and resembled a dried almond. Pleasant mental picture eh?
There's also a couple of animals at RESQCT with very ironic names. We have a completely black dog, who came in with a broken jaw, whose name is Jasmine. And as everyone knows, jasmines are white flowers. And we had a dog with absolutely no hair, whose name was Glossy. Because we all hoped he'd get better and grow out a lovely coat of glossy fur!
Some days we are so out of options that we end up naming animals after the first object we see around them. Examples of these include a cat named Vaseline, a dog named Express (because it was lying on top of a copy of Indian Express) and PayU (after the swipe machine) Yes, we once did have a dog named PayU.
Names of honour…
And then there are several cases named after their callers who reported them to us. This trend originated when we had a sheet that the caller was required to fill up. The first section to fill out was the animal's name. People who didn't catch this would often enter their own names, leading to hilarious results, including a female cat named Sumit, and a male dog named Megha.
There was a phase where we decided that everyday we would pick a theme and name animals in accordance to that theme. One day I came to work after a day off to see eight new cases, all named after news channels. CNBC, NDTV, Aaj Tak and Times Now, just to name a few.
Naming animals at RESQCT is sometimes truly the highlight of my day.
Like the days when I get to indulge my inner fan girl and name animals after Marvel characters, like Groot and Gamora or anime protagonists like Naruto, Goku. Some, like Virus or Silencer (the standout characters from 3 Idiots) always make me giggle when I interact with the dogs. Take a second and think about the weirdest name you have ever heard for an animal. Surely nothing could beat this!
Written by - Jr. Veterinarian Indrakshi Banerji - RESQCT