I asked The Witch of the Howling Creek about the history behind the name of her cyber-cottage, and she told me that it was a kind of tribute to the “eerie but beautifully natural sounds” of “coyotes and the nearby creek…” that surrounded one of her childhood homes. She didn’t have to explain further. I’m a witchy woman—my flesh and bones know that names have power and their energy tends to attach to us.
Because of that, the first time Jacob and I saw our dog (even before we knew we were going to be able to get him) I understood he needed a powerful name. One that said that he could do anything, that he was wanted, and that he had a loving family. We named him Attila “The Guerrero” McClellan.
Okay, there is a bit more to the story. This is how it went:
“I want a black dog,” I said to Jacob. “Fur of a different color will stick to my uniform.” I was still in the Marine Corps then, and wore dark blue and green skirts.
Jacob smiled at me, and we continued our internet search.
Later that night, I clicked on this:
“I want him!” I yelled.
Jacob stared at me for a long time before saying, “Baby, that dog looks a little sick.”
“I know,” I might have sniffled the words.
“We’re looking for a black dog,” Jacob reminded me. “This one is white.”
“I know,” I caressed the computer screen. “We will need to think of a way to keep his fur out of my uniform. I guess we’ll need to vacuum a lot. Isn’t he beautiful? He needs a lot of love.”
“Baby?” Jacob pointed at some writing on the screen.
“Hm?” I said, dreamily. I was thinking about names, and about colors for my dog’s collar and dish.
“The dog is in Texas.” Jacob kept his finger on the screen.
“Texas…” I said, getting a little worried. “You think he’ll be scared to flight all the way to Washington, D.C.?” On the back of my mind, I was already planning the trip to Texas.
Jacob kissed the top of my head, and said, “We can take care of him.”
“I know,” I smiled. And I’m pretty sure I was crying by then… and skipping around the room, asking Jacob for a middle name for our puppy; I already knew his first name was Attila. For like his namesake, I wanted him to grow up into a force to be reckoned with. I wanted our puppy to be strong and confident. Never scared. His mom had been forced to bite or die in illegal dog fights, before and during her pregnancy. All of Attila’s siblings died. He was picked up by a Chihuahua rescue, and they were pretty sure he would die, too. But he didn’t. And I wanted a name that reminded him that he was a survivor, a fighter, a winner…
Remember that bit about names having power? Well, Attila the Hun was one of the fiercest fighters in history, but Jacob and I have always been lovers. Why battle if you don’t have to, right? We’ll be fighters if we must, but we rather lie in bed enjoying life and each other. Nevertheless, it seems that when we gave our puppy my maiden name (Guerrero, which means warrior in Spanish) and McClellan (the last name I took when Jacob and I became husband and wife), we turned Attila “El Guerrero” McClellan into a happy loving beast. You will never meet a more adoring and adorable and devoted dog.
Our Attila has come a long way since his Texan Chihuahua rescue days… and he has been loved… He is a handsome puppy, and his mami and papi and grandma continue to love him to the point of silliness ;-)
I started this post with a quote from Tanaé, author of The Witch of the Howling Creek and editor of Pagan Living, who nominated Pagan Culture for The Witchy Blog Award. This honor requires the usual things (post the award, thank the giver, answer some questions, pass it forward, stand on one leg and make sure your witchy hat is pointing west… oh, never mind on the last bit, my sources tell me that the witchy hat can point anyplace you like ;-) So, thanks a bunch, Tanaé!
Here are my seven witchy questions and answers… all about puppies:
1. Do all Witches keep familiars? I don’t know all the Witches of the world, so I have no idea if they keep familiars or animals that aid their craft. Moi? I prefer thinking of my furry friends as family, not witchy tools.
2. Has Attila ever assisted during a magic ritual? Once, he ate an olive oil-anointed candle, half a rosemary plant, and a tray of moon cakes. He was very spiritual about it, so the answer might be maybe…
3. Most Witches prefer cats. Is Attila a kitty in disguise? I’m pretty sure he is a dog, but he has this wild jumping routine that makes him look like a psychotic bronco overdosed on Red Bull, so he could be a horse…
4. Does Attila have his own broomstick? No. Actually, since the beginning of time, Attila has been raging war against brooms, mops, vacuums… I doubt he’ll care for riding a broomstick.
5. What’s Attila favorite color for witchy robes? Attila prefers to go fur-clad. He likes blue goggles, too.
6. Attila is a white pit bull, a blood-thirsty breed. Has he ever considered joining the fierce and elitist children of Thor? What a dumb question! Being a Thor worshiper wouldn’t make a puppy violent. Besides, Attila is way too lazy to pick up a sword or anything heavy that isn’t edible.
7. So… is Attila part of any coven? I’m not sure… but his sister enjoys dancing and twisting her tail. They often argue over who is better at worshiping the couch, so they might be a two-puppy coven. Oh, and as the look on her face suggests, Janani “Twister-Tail” McClellan feels very deeply about cats. So she might be a witch.
I’m passing this award to every Wicked Darling with a furry baby. If you choose to claim it, and share something witchy about your puppy, cat, turtle, frog, spouse or any other non-human family member, please leave me a link on this post. I want to read it. I promise to share it with Attila and Janani, too ;-)