Like most human friends of mine, Mila has earned herself a few nicknames in her time with us. Some of them based on her mannerisms and others which are entirely random – based on nothing more than how we are feeling on any given day.
Most of the pets I have owned have been subjected to a similar fate. Our rabbit was originally named Toffee but became Otis after she showed extreme excitement every time we gave her pellets for a meal (what we called Bunny Oats) to the point where she ate so many of them we had to put her on a diet. Until recently, my family had a female German Shepherd (Ashika) who was dubbed “Warren” for some (still) unknown reason. We had a black cat (Harlem) who became known as “Kurtley” when she jumped up on the chair just in time to watch (her favourite player) Kurtley Beale scored a try in the rugby and Mike’s Waimaraner Oscar was known to everyone simply as “Doggie”.
Mila has been given many names – and most of them have actually stuck. I would love to be a fly on the wall during some of the conversations we have with her. She is variously referred to as “Big Black Shadow” for her love of following people up and down the hallway to see what they are up to and the imposing figure she cuts when she does so; “Flicker” for her long and enthusiastic tail which can tip over drinks and make a fantastic metronome for anyone learning the piano; “Milly” after Mike’s brother forgot her name and introduced her as Milly to his friends; “Millicent” for the times when she sits very majestically (and with an air of superiority) on her couch in the dining room looking out the window at the world below in a very Upper-class sort of a way (“Millicent” of course has to be said in your most posh-sounding voice. Imagine here Downton Abbey); and “Pig Dog” as a bit of a poke at the fact that her bloodlines can be traced back to the 1700s and that her favourite soft toy is a fluffy pink pig.
Funnily enough, she answers to them all – which supports my theory that it is all about the facial expressions and the tone of voice, rather than what you are actually saying that makes the difference. I definitely get some funny looks when I forget where I am when we are out visiting and I call “Come here Pig Dog” for Mila to go out for a toilet – but it’s all in good humour of course.
Mila takes a break from looking at the world from her throne to wonder why she hasn't been served her evening meal yet.
And then pretends like it's actually no big deal. I didn't want dinner right now anyway!