- The Welsh List Yearbook
"It's Just a Name"
The Decision of Baxter
has been just over three years since Baxter graced out doorstep, and turned
our lives up side down. He arrived as an 8 1/2 week pup, as cute as you can
get. He has grown into a fine handsome Welsh. He does still has enough attitude
that he could share with the neighbourhood dogs and have lots left to assure
himself of his Welsh heritage. But first a little about ourselves and then how
we choose Baxter's name.
Although Ed and I had never given much consideration to having a pet, let alone a Welsh terrier, we were sitting on the couch one evening recovering from the Christmas sugar overload and turned to each other, and said:
"I want a dog."
This was a surprise to both of us. It could have been a result from sugar withdrawal but it did beg the question what type of dog and of course, what name. Fortunately two years earlier we had met "Ted" - a very fine example of a Welsh terrier, and he had stuck in our minds as an appropriate choice of dog. Although I have always wanted 2 wire hair fox terriers - to be named Nick & Nora of course - I was readily convinced that a Welsh was definitely in out future. After many long telephone conversations with various breeders in Canada, all being exceedingly helpful, we were lead to Jennifer Weeks. She did not have puppies available at that time, in fact it being early January there did not seem to be any puppies in eastern Canada for the rest of the year. All were spoken for.
We were a little disappointed and started looking at other terrier breeds. Two weeks later, Jennifer called stating that one of her potential buyers had decided to get another dog. The potential buyers' son had seen the puppies, and being very young, demanded to have a dog that very day. Given the fact the pups were only a few weeks old, the prospective buyers went to the pound for their dog and thus "Baxter" was available to us. It was not until later did we find out how fortunate we were to be able to have a Welsh within five weeks of deciding to have a dog.
Jennifer also lets her prospective owners pick the names for their dogs. Considering we never saw Baxter before he came to Toronto to live, and with Jennifer living in Sault Ste. Mary, making a quick visit difficult, the choice of names became quite the task.
We decided that the sound of his common name was very important. It had to be two syllables, and one which we could pronounce in a variety of ways to express a wide range of emotion, and be masculine in nature. The last criterion was more important to us than responding to "Baxter's" personality. We did not want to have a dog that would be 'A Darling Most Precious', especially since we are the only gay couple in the neighbourhood and did not want to be stereotypical.
After trying many names for several days, the final selections came down to Dexter, Racket, and Baxter. All three names had the right sound, a variety ways to pronounce them, and all seem to fit what we perceived to be our puppy's personality. We eliminated Dexter for we felt it sounded a little too harsh. I liked Racket; Ed liked Baxter - a tie. In the end, Baxter was chosen as we filled out his registration papers because it was a proper name rather than a nickname.
It was not until several months later, that we discovered that "Ted" lived about 10 blocks north on our street, and given that Welsh are few and far between, we had two on one street that added up to "TED BAXTER" - that crazy newscaster on Mary Tyler Moore show. It seemed very appropriate.
The second coincidence occurred when Baxter went for his first hair cut in Oakville. We take Baxter to Giselle Kuehl - a Welsh breeder of some note (she is featured in Bardi's book) and she had two Baxters booked the same day - one of her puppies who had been located in Scarborough and of course our Baxter. It seemed we had picked a very popular name, but we consider our Baxter to be the true "Baxter".
WELSHAVEN FRASER DAFOE
Baxter's registered name was even more difficult. His first name had to be WelsHaven - from Jennifer's kennel. We had 22 more letters including spaces to play with for his CKC name.
I picked "Fraser". It is not only my middle name; it is also my family's clan name. My family emigrated from Scotland to southern Ontario many years ago, and the eldest son usually was given this name to carry onto the next generation. Being the eldest son in my family, it was my duty to pass it on. Since I am gay this did pose a bit of a problem. And given my twisted sense of humour, I decided to pass it on to the dog, with full knowledge that Baxter was NOT ever going to father a line of Welsh puppies. He was bought strictly as a pet, and would be neutered at the appropriate time.
My father was not amused by my choice. Fortunately my brother and his wife had a son two years ago, and the baby was given the family name to carry on, making my father very happy.
Ed picked "Dafoe". This name was also originated from his family, though not from a historical source. Mr. Dafoe was a mythical name for any visitor who came to their house. Like many young boys, Ed and his brother were very inquisitive about visitors and would endlessly pester their parents who and when guest would be arriving. In order to answer their questions, as well as try to make the boys behave, Ed's parents came up with the name Mr. Dafoe. It became the generic name for all guests and meant the boys would have to behave because company was coming. It also kept them entertained trying to guess who Mr. Dafoe would be this time.
This name choice seemed most appropriate given we had never seen Baxter before we picked him up. Thus Baxter officially became WelsHaven Fraser Dafoe.
This name is self explanatory. While we do not receive as much snow as Jennifer does up north, Toronto does get enough to entertain Baxter. And there is nothing better than for Baxter to run or should I say plow his nose through fresh fallen snow and get completely covered in it. He is the definitive "snow snoot".
THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS
This name was given to Bax by a fellow dog owner who also exercises his dog in the same park. To say that Brian has a sardonic sense of humour would be an understatement. His family owns a yellow lab - quite a lovely dog but not in the same category as a terrier. Marlowe, their dog, likes to saunter into the park, have a ball thrown to her, catch it in her mouth and she is finished her exercising. She is called "the amazing circus dog" by her owner. And compared to Baxter, she is a very docile, (well brain dead would be more accurate).
The group had never been exposed to many terriers let alone the antics of a Welsh. Baxter in comparison was a tornado. If there was trouble, Baxter was always in the middle of it. He is always egging on the other dogs to play and chase. He was the definite "shit disturber", and coupled with his over eagerness to explore, he was named "The Prince of Darkness".
Now I was a little taken aback about his new name. Baxter just seemed to be a very active and smart dog to me, whereas the other dogs were just dogs. But in retrospect, I can see why he was named this. It is also ironic now that the group is dominated by terriers - 11 out of the 20 odd dogs that play in the late afternoon are terriers - and Baxter fits in quite nicely. But if the is trouble, which we now call snarl fests, you can bet that he is in the middle of it. He doesn't necessarily start it, but he definitely tries to finish it. These are the joys of owning a terrier.
Baxter has always suited his name, and Ed made an excellent choice. I cannot imagine him being named anything else. Although I do try to imagine a better behaved Baxter every day of my life - he is a wild one for sure, but he is our BAXTER.