The Winner of the What’s in a Name Contest!

Let me begin by thanking everyone who submitted a story for this first contest. My wish to create a place for sharing stories, images and thoughts around the theme of animals has had a nice beginning.

Let me now say thank you to the judge of the What’s in a Name Contest. There is a smart, sensitive and well-read young man living in Missoula, Montana who goes by the name of Finley. He agreed to read the story entries and choose the one he liked the best. Finley wanted it to be known that he slept one full night on his choice, so a lot of thought has gone into his decision.

Finley has chosen the story of how Griffin the cat got his name, because he loved how Griffin “was a little monster when he was a kitten.” Finley also gave a shout out to the story of Cork, the snake, because it was so funny that he was sometimes called Fluffy.

griffin the monster

So a big congratulations to Lee (and Griffin) in Vancouver! Your prize book will be coming to you right away.

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There will be another contest starting early in the new year. There will also be an interview with the illustrator of Audrey (cow), Tatjana Mai-Wyss. We’ll look at different examples of animals depicted in art. And we’ll look at other true stories about animals who have proven able to escape their situation.

If you have ideas or suggestions of topics related to Audrey (cow) that you think would be fun or interesting, please drop me a line. You can reach me using the CONTACT page. *

In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday season!

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 *For parents/teachers/librarians, etc.: In order to make this site safe for children to participate, no last names of anyone submitting to the site will be published.

 

 

 

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The Final What’s In a Name Contest Submission

Just under the deadline, the last submission for the first contest of the Audrey (cow) blog has come in, along with a very fitting Christmas season photo. The story behind this dog’s name involves genealogy, and in this case, there are two strains of warrior blood coursing through his veins.

My one and only dog is named Viking Crusader. He was named that by the breeder, having been born in a “V” year. Anyhow, we adopted him at six months of age and kept the name. He’s a Cavalier, all soft and cuddly, so when people hear his name they invariably say, “What a big name for a little dog”. My ancestry has been traced back to the Vikings on one side, and to the Crusades on the other, so the name seemed appropriate all around. In addition, my daughters went to the University of Victoria, where the basketball team is named the Vikes (which became our nickname for Viking).  I’ve attached a photo of him last Christmas – he, unfortunately, passed away shortly afterwards.

Viking Christmas 2012 1

And that came from Pat in Victoria, BC. Thank you, Pat, for sharing Vikes’ story.

An impartial judge has agreed to pick the winner for this contest. All the stories with be sent to him minus the wonderful photos so that he won’t be unduly influenced by cuteness. I hope to announce the winner by the end of the week, so stay tuned!

 

What’s in a Name Contest: A basset hound named Fiona

The first Audrey (cow) contest is to write in and tell us what the name is of your pet or significant animal friend, and why they were named so.

So far, we’ve had two submissions that have included pictures of photogenic felines. Well, today, that all changes. Today, a sweet, gentle dog is here to balance things out. This is a story about how her true name came to her in incremental steps.

My basset hound Fiona, came to me from Oregon Basset Hound Rescue, taken from a troubled home where she was not well-loved. She came afraid of people in general and men in particular. She also came with the unfortunate name of Yoyo. I really couldn’t see myself standing in the park yelling “yoyo”, so I tried to think of names for her. I really wanted to name her Clementine, after the Sarah Pennypacker character whose first book had just come out. But “Yoyo” was so frightened and nervous when she arrived I worried a name change might be too traumatic. Then, I remembered my Scottish penpal, Fiona, and the great joy I had as a kid, receiving her letters. it was the perfect name for “yoyo” and would be an easy transition. Over the course of a week, she went from Yoyo, to Fiyoyo, to Fiona. 

Fiona-Grass3

And that was sent to us by Adrienne in Oregon.

Thank you, Adrienne! I hope all your grade four students are reading this too.

Next week is the December 15 deadline for this contest. We’ll have a different contest starting in the new year. But if you’re able to get a name story in over the weekend, I’ll try to have it posted right away. And remember, if you have a photo to go with it, please email it to danbarel@telus.net.

 

What’s in a Name Contest: A Cat Named Griffin

The first Audrey (cow) contest is to write in and tell us what the name is of your pet or significant animal friend, and why they were named so.

Last week, we heard about a snake. Today, I thought we were getting a fowl story but it’s actually about a cat. Oh, but what a cat. This cat has some moves on him and, as it turns out, this cat moonlights as a writer’s muse as well. Warning: another cute cat picture coming up.

My very first pet was a blind chicken. Yes, I know, most people have cats and dogs and things. But I grew up on a farm. I wish I knew what the name of that chicken was, but I was only two years old and my mom can’t remember if I gave it a name or not. 

 In any case, my cat Griffin (who is famous with my students for stepping on their stories) is named after the mythological creature. That’s because as soon as I got him, he was a little monster, so I thought I would name him after something beastly. 

 Somewhere along the line, he ended up with the nickname of “skitch.” I’m not sure where this came from, other than the fact that it also was connected to how wild and erratic he was as a kitten. He would literally fly full speed at the wall in my living room, leave up as high as the light switch and boomerang into the next room. Some sort of cat parkour, I guess.

 Well, one of the reasons I picked Griffin out of the litter at the adoption center was because of his short hair. I thought it would be low maintenance. But then he started growing really long hair. It was about this time I was writing my first Kendra Kandlestar book. I was designing a character with a lot of hair and, after fumbling for a name for a while, I decided to just take my cat’s two names, much them together, and call the character Uncle Griffinskitch. So, rather embarrassingly, when readers ask me where Uncle Griffinskitch’s name comes from, I have to be honest and tell them it’s from my cat.

studio_griffin

And that story came from Lee in Vancouver, BC. Thanks Lee!

We’re coming down to the December 15th deadline so send your stories in soon! All  information is on the CONTESTS page of this blog. If you also have a photo of your pet that you’d like to include with your story, you can send it to me through this email address: danbarel@telus.net.

What’s in a Name Contest: A snake named Fluffy

The first Audrey (cow) contest is to write in and tell us what the name is of your pet or significant animal friend, and why they were named so. We’ve had some cat and dog stories but this time we’ve got something exotic.

My mom has a very weird sense of humor. We used to have a cat called Glinda. Her whole name was Good Witch Glinda of the South. I don’t remember Glinda because when I was only two the doctors said I was allergic to her. I would get rashes and it was hard for me to breathe so my parents had to give Glinda away.

Last year I wanted a pet for my birthday (I’m nine now) so we decided to get something I wouldn’t be allergic to so I got a corn snake who I named Cork (as in corkscrew). He’s three and a half feet long now! I like him because his skin pattern is pretty, bright orange and he wraps around my arm so I tell people he’s my living bracelet. Me, my dad and my brother like Cork but my mom isn’t crazy about him. She’s always complaining that she misses having a cat. She wants something soft she can pet. You can pet Cork! Now my mom will sometimes hold him, but when she does, she always calls him Fluffy like she’s pretending he’s a cat.

And that was from Serena in San Diego.

Thank you, Serena! Your mom indeed has a weird sense of humour. I think I would need one too if I had to pet a snake. Although there was one time when I was working at a preschool and my co-teacher booked the Snake Guy for an afternoon demo. A class of twenty 3 and 4 year olds all had snakes in their hands, around their necks or waists or going up their legs. And I, too, was holding a few snakes; something I never figured I’d ever do in my life.

Remember everyone, if you have a photo of your pet that you’d like to include with your story, you can send it to danbarel@telus.net. All contest information is on the CONTESTS page of this blog. Still time to send one in!

 

 

What’s in a Name Contest: A kitten named Curious

Prepare to be turned to mush, people. If the story doesn’t get to you, then the photo at the bottom will do the job.

The first Audrey (cow) contest is to write in and tell us what the name is of your pet or significant animal friend, and why they were named so. In today’s submission, a kitten was given a name for one reason, but earned the name for a much more fitting reason.

About six years ago, we fostered two orange kittens who had been rescued by the BC SPCA. Volunteers at the SPCA shelter named the brother and sister cats, Curious and George (at that time, the Curious George movie was popular). The little female kitten, Curious, lived up to her name, so we ended up keeping the name after we adopted her. She loved exploring everything new and was especially curious about our big dog, Dylan (she took a particular liking to him). One day, after one of her explorations, Curious came limping up the basement stairs. She didn’t complain and continued with her usual poking into corners and jumping up to the window sill to look out the window, etc., only slightly hampered by the limp. When the limp continued, we took her to the vet and discovered she’d somehow broken her leg. The cast didn’t slow her down, either, but it added a rhythmic clickety clump to her explorations. The photo shows Curious with her cast, snuggling up with the dog.

Curious&Dylan

And that story came from Jacquie in Vancouver, BC.

Thanks Jacquie!

And remember everyone, the contest continues until December 15th. All  information is on the CONTESTS page of this blog. If you also have a photo of your pet that you’d like to include with your story, you can send it to me through this email address: danbarel@telus.net.

What’s in a Name Contest: A boxer named Bimbo

Yes, you read the title correctly. The first Audrey (cow) contest is to write in and tell us what the name is of your pet or significant animal friend, and why they were named so. With the following submission, there may be some confusion in the definition of certain words, but I believe the intention is sincere. So with the hope that I don’t get too many letters of concern, here it is:

While growing up we had a dog, a boxer, named Bimbo.  I loved her.  When I married and had children, I had to have a boxer.  I named her Bimbo too. The dictionary says that bimbo means a tramp and that describes her completely.  It was such a fitting name.  She loved to run all over the neighborhood.  She would stand by our back door and just wait for someone to open it and zap, she was off on a run.  I loved this Bimbo too but she was very frustrating to try and keep home.

from Brenda (who didn’t say where she was from).

 

Thanks Brenda! And remember everyone, if you have a photo of your pet that you’d like to include with your story, you can send it to danbarel@telus.net. All contest information is on the CONTESTS page of this blog. Still plenty of time to send one in!

 

 

 

What’s in a Name Contest: Who is Checker?

The first Audrey (cow) contest is to write in and tell us what the name is of your pet or significant animal friend, and why they were named so. Here is a response that came in last week:

We got an old cat from our grandmother who died. His name is Checker. People think he’s called that because of his fur because he’s calico which isn’t really checkered at all. But our grandmother said she named him after an old dude called Chubby Checker because she liked him, and the cat was pretty fat when she got him. Sometimes our grandmother would hold Checker’s front paws and get him on his hind legs and they would do The Twist which is an old dance.

 Kate from Windsor, Ontario

Thanks, Kate! And remember, if you have a photo of your pet that you’d like to include with your story, you can send it to danbarel@telus.net. All contest information is on the CONTESTS page of this blog.