The Dog’s Name

I love my Airbnb guests. I love that they bring life to the cottage my son Bradley built. I love that they appreciate the craftsmanship and the view, that they notice the effort that went into my own little personal touches, that they clean up after themselves. I love that they pay money to be here and thereby sustain my simple lifestyle. I love that they amuse me.

One way they amuse me is how they introduce themselves. It’s the Airbnb way that when you book a place, you send the host a note describing who you are and the general purpose of your trip. It’s often something simple like

We are coming into town for parents weekend at UVA.


My husband and I are looking for a quick getaway into the country from our hectic city life.


I’m surprising my fiancé with a night in your cottage to celebrate her birthday.

My guests are happy that I allow pets, but I want to know they’re coming. It says so in the description. People take time to assure me that their dog is a good dog and I will not have to worry. This is all good. I appreciate when guests leave extra for cleaning up after shedding dogs, which I also suggest (but Airbnb’s system does not allow me to impose) and maybe one in ten remembers, but that is another conversation.

The amusing part is how often the person writing the note tells me their dog’s name right up front – to the exclusion of any other name but their own. I don’t ask for the dog’s name and I don’t have to. For example, this one, for two adults:

My wife and I have some friends in the area and will be checking out some of the local wineries with them. We will be bringing our 40-pound Bassett hound Sasha. She doesn’t bark much and will be crated when we are not there.

Or this one, for two adults and two children:

We are excited about staying at your place. It was the first place that caught my eye when we started looking for a place. We will be bringing our sweet golden retriever, Lola.

I love the dogs that come.

Last week I had a 10-month-old Great Pyrenees named Indy (already 70 pounds!), a few days ago a (white) English golden retriever named Lola, right now a 3-year-old French bulldog named Thor. Sierra has been here twice and never wants to leave. Bardo killed a chicken back when the chickens sometimes clucked and scratched around the yard – he thought it was a toy? – and those guests (presumably on account of deep humiliation) never came back. Millie circled the new and improved (read impenetrable) coop a thousand times in two days – surely there’s a way in to those birds!! Here she is: wishing, plotting, hoping, studying.

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This is Lola playing (incessantly) with Sandy’s dog Maggie.

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This is Thor, a French bulldog, who with serious attitude gave Maggie a run for her money. They occasionally rested.

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Point is, people tell me the dog’s name. Often I have to ask for the people names.

I like to know everyone’s first names because I write little welcome cards that start with Dear _____________ and ___________… Everyone loves to see their own name written down, right? (In cursive with real ink on real paper no less – am I wrong?) So I write back telling them how delighted I am that they want to stay at the cottage and then asking for first names of whoever else is coming (now that I know the dog’s name) 😊.

I wonder why the person booking the cottage often tells me the dog’s name but no other names. Is it because they are so familiar with their wife/husband (fiancé/mom/girlfriend/whomever it may be) that it doesn’t occur to them that not everyone knows that name?

Is it because other hosts have never asked for first names because they don’t need or want to know?

Is it because they say the dog’s name so often? As in Thor, No! Thor, Come! (I use Thor for this example even though the wonderful guests who love him did not yell at him like this. I want to use it because I love the name. Best name ever for a French bulldog.) Considering a dog’s limited scope of vocabulary and our human propensity to fill the air with spoken words, maybe they say the name at home over and over and are just used to saying it, including it?

Maybe it’s because they are so attached to their dog and they want everyone to love him/her? The lady who booked the cottage for her family (that includes Lola) told a wonderful story. She said she had, as a young child, watched her sister being attacked by a German shepherd. “She lived,” she said, which tells you the extent of the injuries, but this left a huge fear, a huge NO when it came to having a dog in her own family many years later. Her daughters wanted a dog though and she wanted them to have one but resisted strongly until one day she saw an English cream golden retriever puppy that was “literally the cutest thing I ever saw in my life.”

This is what one of these puppies looks like, in case you are wondering.


She relented, regretted the decision for the first six months, and now loves this two-year-old dog, who is friendly, gentle, gorgeous and perfect.

I think people tell me the dog’s name because they love the dog so much. I get it. Coco is leaving home soon, as Samuel has found his own place. She won’t be far away, and he says I can go snatch her during the day if I want to, but she will no longer snooze on my lap like this on a regular basis. I will miss her. Yes, even this face I will miss!

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I need a dog of my own sooner or later. What kind, I don’t yet know. And I wonder what her name will be 😊

9 thoughts on “The Dog’s Name

  1. That’s an interesting observation. 🙂
    We are the same way with our two recently acquired beagles. And were the same way with our beloved Chesapeake Bay Retriever who died over 2 years ago.
    You need a dog, and a playmate for when Coco comes to visit. 🙂


  2. That’s really funny!
    I think with me, I wouldn’t mention the names of my people because they might not want me to. Once you know someone’s name, you have power over them… especially if you’re a WITCH!!! Just kidding.
    But pets don’t have privacy concerns. Pets have no secrets, they don’t care if you know their name, age, weight. They don’t mind if you stare at their deformities. So you can happily brag about your pets and share their personal information.
    With people, they might find out, and they might not appreciate your discussing them in their absence.
    That’s just my reason why I would tell you all about my black cats, Molly and Kato. But not a lot about my SO 😉


    • Now THAT’S funny — about the witch. You are hilarious. And you are so right about privacy. I don’t need or want anything but the first names, and only for the purpose of the note, and people almost always send me the names once I ask (sometimes with last names too, which I didn’t ask for and don’t need – talk about privacy concerns). But you refer to a thing I hadn’t considered — that they not only love their pets but are so proud of them that they want to talk about them. I get a lot of young (30s) couples from Washington DC who don’t have kids (yet, or maybe they don’t want any) and their pets are like their children. Yes, could be… or maybe it’s just easy to talk about animals. Or maybe no place they’ve ever stayed has ever asked for names because they are not as interested in making the stay as personalized.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia,
    I just think people assume you know their names. Isn’t it listed somewhere on whatever form they fill out before the come and stay? If not, I’d add that in if for no other reason than the one you stated, you’d like to graciously welcome them. All of the dogs were cutie patooties! I know you’re going to miss Coco! 😦 I hope you find a doggie who finds you back (meaning you were made for one another!) I recommend starting at your local animal shelter because you’re saving an animal’s life and somehow they seem to know it. Loved this post! Mona

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mona,
      There are a number of ways I wish I could adjust the form that guests fill out before coming. Adding first names on that would be great but it’s not part of the process now. Occasionally someone says My girlfriend Louise and I would like to come,… But generally, if I want them, I have to ask. Oh all the dogs are so nice that come, and people do love them so much — I love watching how they talk to them especially (I let them cuddle together in their own space!). Yes, the right dog will come along for me. One of these days! Did I ever tell you I rescued a St Bernard named Mona? She was a most amazing dog, smallish (99lbs), gentle, gorgeous — and she didn’t drool!! (which many Saints do, so i was very grateful!!). I had never had a Saint before. I called on a craigslist ad and the woman told me this dog was mostly in the basement because of her other dogs and in the background I heard kids screaming and I thought I have to get that dog out of there! She was a wonderful dog who got to enjoy this property for several years before a health issue that took her very quickly. Yes, the right dog will come along. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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