Tuesday, May 08, 2012

A Good Name For An Agility Dog

SUMMARY: How Boost got her name.

Starting back in 1998, I did some work for a start-up high tech company who manufactured a device for speeding up data traffic over networks. They named the company NetBoost.

In the nature of Silicon Valley companies, they had t-shirts and hats and all, and one day I was looking at the hat--

--especially the back side of the hat--

--and it suddenly struck me, "Boost would be a good name for an agility dog!"

A few years later, in early 2002, Tika came to live with me. She wasn't named Tika--they had called her Savannah--but "Boost" somehow didn't seem to fit her, so I moved on to other names and "Boost" went unclaimed.

Four years after that, a little blue merle border collie puppy came home with me, and it was pretty clear, I think even before she came home, that she was the dog who needed to be Boost.

That left me pondering what her full registered name would be. Registered names (in AKC at least) start with the breeder's kennel name, hence Hi C-Era. (Side note for those from out of the area--that would be "High Sierra", a reference to being up in the high country up to the tall granite peaks of the Sierra Nevada, such as in the upper ranges of Yosemite; the highest peak is Mount Whitney at 14,500 feet (4400m).  Hence also the name of various sporting gear and events and such. See the High Sierra Wikipedia page.)

To the kennel name, I could've just appended Boost and left it at that--after all, my previous 3 agility dogs have been registered as Finchester's Remington, Finchester's Jake, and Finchester's Tika (all rescues, so I used my own "kennel" name).

But I wanted to have fun with it.

I right away came up with a name that I wanted to use: Interstellar Propulsion (Boost--Booster rocket--get it?). But, after adding the required kennel name, the AKC forms and instructions said that I had two too many characters. So I agonized and waffled and tried a whole lot of other names. Friend Gail helped brainstorm and we came up with some good, shorter, possible alternatives:
  • Escaping Gravity
  • Lightspeed Liftoff
  • Lightspeed Propulsion (just barely fit if I counted right)
  • Orbital Express
  • Interstellar Engine
  • Escape Velocity
  • Mach 25 (that being, if I'm remember correctly, the speed it takes to escape earth's gravity... but probably a bit too obscure. I also toyed with "Achieving e" but that's really quite opaque. )
  • Interstellar Velocity
  • Nearing Lightspeed
But I still liked my original the best.

So I dawdled and dawdled, waiting either to decide on one of the alternate names from my list (kept pulling them out and reviewing them in case perhaps I had missed one that was particularly good) or for The Perfect Other Name to appear from the heavens. But no deux ex machina resolution appeared for my dilemma.

Then, over time, two separate people told me that their understanding was that AKC would, in fact, nowadays accept names that were much longer than their forms allowed. So I took a chance and finally sent in the forms (had to do it before her first birthday, which was coming up fast, or pay a penalty).

And, Lo! They accepted it, and henceforth she became Hi C-Era Interstellar Propulsion, call name Boost.

And she certainly is fast! However, in agility competitions where our skills melt down and we crash and burn, I think, I had in mind rockets nearing lightspeed and she had in mind O rings from Morton Thiokol.

Ah, well, I still love the name, and the dog.

My lightspeed girlie:


  1. So cool to know the thinking behind the name :)

  2. Awww what a great story! I always wondered. Sweet girl.

  3. The perfect name for her. And the perfectly coloured baseball cap for it to have come from!

  4. I hadn't even thought about the color! You're right!