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Monday, June 28, 2010

What's in a Name? (Or, how I scared Mike when FLD Mike burst into the house.

More adventures during my visit with my high-school friend, Robin, last week.  Robin was in town for a family wedding and was staying at her sister's house, where we got together.  It had been over 10 years since we had seen each other. 

FLD Mike was romping free around the fenced-in backyard as Robin and I visited.  Off-leash was a rare freedom allowed only when safe in an enclosed area.  I stepped out of the yard to retrieve his bowl from the back of my truck.  It was hot, and FLD Mike needed water.
As I re-entered the yard, closing the gate behind me, I heard the patio door slide open, and looked up to see FLD Mike dart past the emerging legs of Mike, Robin’s husband.
I dropped the bowl and bolted for the door.  I knew there were cats inside; I wasn’t worried about them—past experience indicated that the cats probably had the upper hand—but FLD Mike would find their litter box lickety-split.
Mike, Robin’s husband, hopped down the short step to the patio and exclaimed “What the…!?”—wondering what black streak just brushed by.  He turned and saw me running full-bore toward him; he turned again and hustled back into the house, alarmed.
I yelled, “MIKE!  NO!”
Unbeknownst to me, Mike, Robin’s husband, had gotten into trouble earlier that day for inadvertently letting one of the cats out when he opened the door.  Now he couldn’t figure out why I was screaming “NO” at him.  His first reaction at the sight of me racing to the house was that it was up to him to save the cats from this huge, wild black dog that he just let in the house inadvertently!
Unbeknownst to Mike, Robin’s husband, my 9-month-old black-lab Future Leader Dog was named “Mike.”  In fact, Mike, Robin’s husband, had no reason to suspect that a 9-month-old black lab named “Mike” would be in the back yard at all, ready to leap past him into the house just as he slid open the door.
“Mike!” I hollered again as I leapt through the open door after FLD Mike.  Mike, Robin’s husband, dodged and darted out of my way, not sure what brand of crazy-woman was threatening him.
I was focused on getting FLD Mike’s attention so I could drag him back outside where he belonged; it never dawned on me that Mike, Robin’s husband, thought that I was yelling at him!
When the dust settled, when Mike, Robin’s husband, got his heart-rate back down to normal, when FLD Mike got his drink of water, when Robin finally stopped laughing at all the commotion, Mike, Robin’s husband, met FLD Mike, and we all shared a good laugh.


  1. LOL Glad it all worked out in the end.

    This is actually a really good example of why people shouldn't give dogs (especially future working dogs) common people names. It can be very confusing and distracting for both dog and owner/handler (or other people who share the name). In fact, I know several guide dogs that ended up being renamed, because it was just too confusing for everyone involved - usually because a friend or family member had the same or a similar name as the dog.
    A lot of guide dog programs used to actively discourage raisers from giving their pups common human first names, but apparently (judging by all the puppy-raiser blogs I read) a lot of them don't bother to do so anymore.

  2. Apt comment! I heard of a Leader Dog for the Blind named "Bob" that shared his new handler's name and was thus subsequently renamed.

    I pass the blame for "Mike" on to my husband, who has reserved the "right" to name my Future Leader Dog puppies. He said the name "Mike" just came to him and reminded him of a "good friend." I hope this incident with my friend's husband is the only problem FLD Mike has with his name!