Last month, I blogged about our new arrival — a beagle pup to be named Betty. As you may recall, I went all out for this pup… special food and water bowls, a pretty collar and leash, and a tartan plaid bed with her name prominently monogrammed on the side.
Well, Betty turned out to be…a boy.
A very long story short, we simply came up short. There were several girls to choose from, but our deposit held a selection spot, not necessarily a particular puppy. The night before we were scheduled to pick up Betty, we were informed a few pups in the litter developed pneumonia and died, and only three girls survived. Based on our place on the list, we’d have to take a boy if we still wanted one.
When I told my husband that the pup, which I had branded as Betty the Beagle since Christmas Eve, wasn’t coming to live with us, his eyes lit up like blue C9 bulbs. “Ha!” he exclaimed. “Outnumbered no more!”
I wasn’t upset, because I had said up front that I didn’t care about gender as long as the pup was healthy. My reaction was also due to experiencing something like this before. As Yogi Berra once said, it was déjà vu all over again.
During my second pregnancy, I went through quite a few ultrasounds to make sure everything was progressing normally. During one of the first scans, the technician turned to us and said, “I know what that is, and that means you’re carrying a little boy.”
Off the table I jumped and down the road I drove… to Lowe’s… for blue paint. I had it all planned: blue walls, chambray and red linens, and a giant stuffed moose head for the wall above his dark cherry crib. I had planned a wild animal theme… lions, tigers and bears, oh my… and a pair of denim overalls from Gap. Twenty-four hours later, I was trying on baby names from my favorite mini-series, The Thorn Birds.
My husband was not impressed with my source of creativity.
“You’re not going to name our son Stuart. He got killed by a wild boar. And you are not naming him Dane, either, because he drowned in the ocean. And you can forget about the other brother who died when a burning tree fell on him,” Mike spat.
What about Ralph? He was sitting in the rose garden when he slumped over. Does that make you feel better?
Three appointments later, a different technician scanned again to check the baby’s development. “How’s he doing?” I asked nervously. “He?” the technician replied. “You mean SHE? She looks good so far.”
But… but… we were told we were having a boy! What happened to that certain something the other technician was so convinced of? “I have no idea, but this is a little girl for sure.”
A few months later our second daughter, Maryn, was carried into a bedroom painted a pale, spring green (to be on the safe side). And, I’m pleased to report that she’s 100% all girl.
BUT, getting back to my story about our beagle blooper: Since Betty would not be joining us, I had to find a name within 24 hours for our baby boy. And, if you hadn’t already guessed, I pulled The Thorn Birds novel off the shelf and began flipping through pages.
Paddy? Hal? Luddie? Bob? Jack? Hughie? Rainer?
Mike, proving to be the alpha in the family, took the book and gave it a toss. “His name is Copper,” he stated. From The Fox and the Hound? A Disney movie?
After an hour of debate, I realized that I didn’t have a dog in this fight. The story of a deep friendship between an unlikely pair (also true of a Roman Catholic priest and his mistress) would serve as the inspiration for our little “surprise”. Copper the Beagle has become man’s best friend. Sometimes, that’s simply ‘howl’ the ball bounces.