Most people have heard the song “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?”, originally sung by Pattie Page in 1953.
I heard it first in elementary school. It’s one of those songs they play in cartoons that every kid knows, but no kid really knows where it came from. Another example is “I’m a Believer.” That song is strongly associated in my mind with Shrek (rather than the Monkees) because that’s where I heard it first. But I digress…
Our local mall has a satellite location of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, and it has a window that shows available dogs. We had passed the shop many times, but never seen a dog that we had a soul connection with. After all, we already had a dog: Izzy, a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.
But four years ago today, we went to the mall, saw a doggie in the window and came home with a new best friend.
This is the photo we sent to our father, after we had already signed the adoption papers. He was totally chill with it. Perhaps because the previous day, our (maternal) grandparents had passed away hours apart in hospice care. They had been slowly declining over the past four years, and now it was all over.
A Transition Period
We went to the mall that day to distract us from the gaping hole in our lives left by two family members dying on the same day. Being caregivers had been exhausting, although it was easier between the four of us.
There is so much stress with hospital visits and near brushes with death that happen as the elderly continue to age. Now they were gone, and there was ostensibly no more stress. There was only sadness, relief, and then guilt for feeling relieved.
We went into the Humane Society only to “look” at the dog, say hello, and then go home. But that wasn’t how it went at all.
We went in, said hello and then the workers asked us if we would like to take her out on a walk. Of course, we couldn’t say no and ten minutes later we end up walking out with Nana. It is one of the most spontaneous things we have have ever done.
Can I have the etymology please?
We get some raised eyebrows when we tell people her name. “Oh, is she a grandma?” is the most common question. The answer is no, she is not.
Nana was the name of one our grandpa’s nurses. He was from Ghana and was very warm, quiet, and kind; the same characteristics that our dog possesses. We decided this was the perfect name for her. Later we read on Wikipedia that in Ghana, Nana “is used as the title of a monarch to signify their status.”
Nana in Japanese is one way to say the number 7. (The other word is shichi.) So in other words, Nana is a lucky dog!
Nanna is also the name of the lead singer from Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men (Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir – same pronunciation but a different spelling). In Nordic languages, Nanna means daring or brave. We think our Nana is very brave.
We believe that our grandparents guided us to Nana and in return Nana has watched over us since they passed. She has brought a different perspective to our house and is an amazing dog who changed our lives forever. We love you Nana!