A Place to Bark, a no-kill rescue group in Tennessee, has put the word out on Twitter asking for help naming some rescued critters. Naming dogs can be a challenge — especially if you do it all the time, and you’re obliged to name many dogs all at once. That goes double if what you’re after isn’t any boring old name, but a truly memorable mutt handle. 

But what if one name isn’t quite enough to cover a dog’s multifaceted persona? Then, by rights, that dog deserves numerous names.

My late, great brindle pit bull, Britannia Tige, responded to every single one of the many wacky tags I hung on her: B, BT, Britty, Brita, Britain, Brittens Brindlestein, Mittens Mindlestein, Mittens, and Stein. (I drew the line at Mitzi, however — I thought that was just silly, and besides, it was my ex’s name for her.) I still miss that little dog in no small way.

Still and all, my Mittens had nothing on a sweet Silky Terrier named Ross, because that’s not his only name.

He also goes by a few others, to wit:

Rossi, 27 Cents, Rasheed, Rossome, Mister Woof, Rossmin, Roscoe, Woof Tang Clan, Rufus, Russell, The Woofinator, Wooflet, Rossman Turner Overdrive, Alf, Benji, Toto, Yoda, Raise Da Woof, Baron Claus Von Wolfenstein.

The above roster of Ross rubrics is also the number-loaded name of a photo album on Facebook created by Philadelphian Jeff Winner, Ross’s human. “The Unnamable” may be a famous novel by Samuel Beckett; but no dog is unnamable, and some (obviously) are multinamable. Shakespeare wondered, “What’s in a name?” Well, if you ask a dog lover, a whole lot.

Winner provides some backstory on his numerously named friend, whom he adopted three and a half years ago:

“His previous family had named him Rasheed. They dropped him off at the University of Pennsylvania animal hospital to be put to sleep; he was sick and they didn’t want him anymore,” he says. “But a doctor there decided not to kill a purebred dog that wasn’t even one year old without at least trying to discover what was wrong. So she took him on as her own project, with her own time and money.”

Money was the operative word here — and also the root cause of the ailment plaguing the dog formerly named Rasheed. On top of that, a diminutive denomination of dough almost became the dog’s new moniker.

“They put one of those tiny cameras down his throat and discovered he had swallowed a quarter and two pennies, so that’s why he was sick — he was being poisoned by the zinc in the coins,” Winner says. “After they yanked the coins out of him with some high-tech medical gizmo, he was fine! On the hospital records, they had named him 27 Cents. I considered keeping that name, briefly.”

Here’s Rossi playing video games:

Now, 27 Cents is but one of this lucky dog’s many nicknames. His “real” name is Rossi, Winner explains: “I chose the name Rossi because it rhymed with Rasheed, and he’d respond.” Whatever works!

How many names does your dog have? Does s/he know them all? Please share the whats, hows and whys in the comments!

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