Baxter McNeill, our new English Springer Spaniel

This week we proudly took ownership of Baxter, an eight week old English Springer Spaniel. Ever since we saw the movie ‘Eight Below’ we began to explore the possibilities of adopting a dog. We considered several options until we found out that some friends from church had bred a litter of Springers.

Choosing a name was fairly, but not entirely straight forward. Ken, my old youth minister from many years ago had a practice of naming his animals after church leaders. So, he had Tony the dog (the first name of the Rector at the time,) Jensen the duck (after the now Archbishop–or his brother, Dean of St Andrew’s Cathedral,) and I recall he had an animal named Woodhouse (after his then Rector and the now Principal of Moore College.)

With this in mind, I considered options. What about Stewart, or Willis or Stanton? All worthy contenders. But what about a church leader from history? My initial favourite name was ‘Cranmer’ (after Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the English Reformer who wrote the Book of Common Prayer.) But every member of my family voted against me. Rather than enforce my powerful right of veto (after all, I paid for the thing…) I considered another alternative. And so, ‘Baxter’ was suggested (after Richard Baxter, the great Puritan), and unanimously supported by the McNeill caucus.

Baxter has brought us great joy in these initial puppy days, although we (and I expect the neighbours) look forward to him getting over his detachment anxiety (with its accompanying midnight barking and whimpering.)

Do you know of any animal names based on church figures? How did you stop your dog whimpering during the night? I’d be interested to hear your comments…

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