Penelope and I hang around a lot at The Rover Reform School. That’s a “learning center” for dogs. Okay – their owners learn a lot too. Penelope takes a few classes. We help out however we can. And, we meet a lot of dogs.
Recently, we met a German shepherd named Milo. He was a handsome dog — blonde with a black saddle, high set pointed ears, a bushy tail, and a solid back sloping from his head to his strong back legs. He wasn’t the first Milo we’ve come across.
Lately, Milo is a popular name among German shepherds. Why? I don’t know. Well, actually, I do know the reason behind this one. His owner proudly told me that because he was a German shepherd, he should have an authentic German name. So she chose Milo.
As we walked through the parking lot, she seemed dwarfed by her big black suburban, as well as by Milo. She spoke of driving kids to ballet classes and baseball games, and about a teenager who wanted her own horse. She may have had blue eyes and blonde hair, but I was certain she hadn’t been around many actual Germans.
When my grandparents emigrated from Germany, they settled in a New Jersey factory town that mirrored their hometown. It was a town where German was heard more than English. While growing up there, I met a lot of Ottos, Helmuts, and Maxes. But no Milos.
The people of our town built a club house in the woods. The Wald Haus. There, they ate wurst, drank German beer, and talked about everything (in German) with Arturs, Reinharts, and Rudolfs. But no Milos.
Later in life, I often traveled to Germany. There were shopkeepers and waiters named Wolfgang, Karl, and Richart. Travel guides named Erhart, Gustav, and Kurt. But no Milos.
The only Milo I ever heard of was in art history: the armless Venus d’Milo. And she wasn’t German.
So I wonder. Will Milo ever make it on the list of the top names for German shepherds in Germany? And will it surpass Lukas, Jonas, Maxillian, and the other top ten names for German baby boys as well?