what's in a name?
by Nedda Wittels
© April, 2015.
changing a name transform an "Ugly Ducking"
into a "Swan"?
Do animals like the names we give them?
Does what we
call them affect their self image? Their behavior?
What's the best way to choose a name for a new animal
in your family?
SHADOW? Or THUNDER?
A dog named "Shadow" was shy and insecure. I soon realized his
shyness was connected to his name. He was "afraid of his shadow",
so to speak. He want to be called "Thunder", a name he associated
with strength and bravery.
In this case, changing the dogs name
didn't immediately result in a change in the dog's behavior.
Sometimes, when our self-image is damaged, it takes additional work to
make the shift. But that didn't prove to be true for other animals
when they got the name they wanted.
CRACKERS becomes BEAUTIFUL
A cat named "Crackers" rarely groomed herself and seemed generally unhappy.
She lived in the barn where Echo lived and where I did the morning
chores for all the horses.
One day, feeling playful, I spoke to Crackers aloud. "Hi, Beautiful!" I said,
doing a poor imitation of Humphrey Bogart.
Her eyes got big with
amazement. Did I really think she was beautiful?
told her. "You are really quite gorgeous."
Now she sat
taller and prouder than I had ever seen her. "Miss Beautiful"
became my name for her and for the first time, we became friends.
DEVIL becomes JOE
Sometimes it's really obvious what name suits an animal, but other
times we can be fooled by an animal's behavior.
I once worked with
a horse named "Devil" because he was so difficult to ride. When I
asked him what the problem was, the first thing he told me was that he
hated his name. He felt he had to live up to it by misbehaving,
and that people didn't like him because of it.
"I want to be
called 'Joe'," he said, a name he found soothing and peaceful.
Joe's energy field was full of static and very uncomfortable.
After a few healing
sessions to quiet, balance, and clear his energy field, and after
persuading the people to change his barn name, Joe became happier and
more grounded. He also became more cooperative and started doing well in training
A stray cat that a client had found and captured showed me a picture of
himself standing on his hind feet in tall grass, pawing at a butterfly.
This was his "name". He told me Dancing Paws would work as an
My cat Violet told me her name even before I set eyes on her. And
she responded to it, too. I didn't have to teach her the name
because it already was her name.
Dogs can be taught to come to
nearly any name, but cats, being cats, will only come to a name that
suits them -- or a call for dinner.
NAMING A NEW ANIMAL
If you're not sure about naming a new animal, here are some tips on how
to discover a name the animal likes.
Sit quietly with pen and paper handy.
Close you eyes and take several deep breaths.
Picture your animal in your mind or remember what it feels like to
Silently, ask your animal, "What name would you preferred to be
Wait patiently for a response and then start writing.
If you hear
a name, write it down.
If you see a picture, describe it as best
you can and focus on the aspects of the picture you are drawn to.
If you feel a physical sensation or emotion, write it down.
Finally, ask your animal to confirm the name or word or phrase that
seems to be the correct name by calling the animal that name.
Usually, if you
have the "right" name, the animal will respond in some way -- look in
your eyes, blink, or even come towards you.
don't succeed on your first try, try again. You can use variations on the
name you tried. You can also ask your animal to send you more information
that will help you find the name the animal prefers.