Little Talks Part 33: Naming a Dog

The 33rd in a series of short stories about a relationship starring a fictional couple who live rent-free in Scott’s head.

Scott Muska
4 min readJun 3, 2023

We’re halfway through dinner prep when I tell her I’ve been thinking about something, and she responds that this is generally not a good thing.

“It isn’t?”

“If it’s not something momentous, you usually just go ahead and say whatever you’re thinking, without preamble,” she says.

“I guess that’s true.”

“It’s like when you ask someone if you can ask them a question, when if it wasn’t a big type of question you’d just go ahead and ask it.”

“Well, yeah. I get what you’re saying.”

“Okay. Should I be worried?”

“I was only going to say that I think we should, at some point, consider getting a dog together.”

“That’s not not a momentous thought to have — given that neither of us have really even been able to help a plant sustain its life for more than a few months. I’m not sure we’re ready at this point to willfully bring another living thing under our care.”

“Sure, but dogs are different. Than plants. Much different. I mean, you can’t take a plant for a walk, can you? And that’s just one example. Also, plants can’t be trained. And aren’t sentient. At least to our knowledge.”

“Technically, you could take a plant for a walk. You just might get some strange looks from people, even in this neighborhood.”

“Well, now I want to take a plant for a walk just to see what happens.”

“I guess you could try it out, but with which plant? You somehow managed to passively murder our last remaining succulent, and now we live in a plant-less household.”

“Good point. We’re currently one of those couples that is dual income, no plants. Except for the weed.”

“Which is, of course, not living. And also, before I forget, we’re going to need to re-up posthaste.”

“I’ll put it on my to-do list. But I feel like you’re dodging the topic here: What do you really think about getting a dog with me?”

“Well, you know I love you. And I love a dog. Any dog. Some of them more than you.”

“Tough, but fair.”

“However, there are many variables we have to consider. Like our work schedules. How we’d train it. Getting our landlord to allow us to have one in our home in the first place. The general responsibility of it all — and I know the word ‘responsibility’ has a tendency to make you squirm.”

“I believe these are all obstacles we can tackle if we have the proper plan. Even the responsibility factor. I think. I hope. Though, admittedly, those things have only been in the back of my mind.”

“Well, what’s been at the front?”

“What we’d name it.”

“That sounds about right.”

“A dog name is important.”

“Absolutely crucial. And I’m going to go ahead and boldly assume that you’ve already got some names in mind.”

“I do. For male dogs, mostly, though. For some reason I always envisioned myself with a furry boy at my side. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I’d prefer not to delve too deeply into it at this point.”

“You do have a certain fondness for bastards.”

“That’s low-hanging fruit and you know it.”

“I do. Plucked it anyway. We gotta get our kicks where we can. I feel like we should rifle through your shortlist of names. Seems like something you want to do, and I’m down. I hope you have some solid ones on the docket.”

“Here’s to hoping.”

“Fire at will.”

“I’ll lead off with Peter Pan. We could get him a green cap with a feather in it, which would be cool.”

“A solid character. Also the namesake of a syndrome you suffer from.”

“Again: Tough, but fair.”

“What else ya got?”

“Captain Ahab.”

“Are they all gonna be from literature?”

“Only other ones so far are Moby Dick, Yossarian, Huckleberry Finn, Dracula, Mercutio and Ortho ‘The Darkness’ Stice.”

“I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing that my favorite name so far is a minor character from Infinite Jest.”

“What about Disgusting Brother?”

“I only like that one in the plural. And we are absolutely not getting two.”

“Cornbread. Mars. Patrick Swayze. Batman. Dr. Venkman. Walter Cronkite. Roy Kent.”

“You really have thought about this, haven’t you?”

“Typewriter. Johnnie Walker. Murphy Bed.”

“Are you just looking at things in the room and saying you’d name a dog them?”

“F Train. Lint Roller.”

“Are you having an aneurism?”

“Dave. Chad.”

“That’s fantastic. Dogs with human names? Gets me every time.”

“Okay. I’m spent.”

“You almost broke a sweat.”

“The list is just work in progress. First ideas. No bad ideas in a brainstorm. You know.”

“We’ll get there. But I think we have some early winners. However.”

“Uh-oh.”

“I should bring up that I want to adopt and not shop — so what if we take in a pup that already has a name? Or what if he doesn’t look like the name we chose beforehand? Not every dog looks like an Ortho ‘The Darkness’ Stice, you know.”

“That’s a bridge to cross if and when we come to it. We can probably get him to go by his new name before too long. Though I don’t know if that’s, like, an inherently weird thing to set in motion.”

“Yeah. I don’t know exactly how I feel about that just yet.”

“This gets me thinking.”

“Even more? Aren’t you cashed out for the night?”

“If we got married, would you want to take my last name?”

“That’s a bridge to cross if and when we come to it.”

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Scott Muska

I write books (for fun, and you can find them on Amazon), ads (for a living) and some other stuff (that seems to magically show up on the internet).