I have a zen dog. Everyday (almost) Gaiter insists on visiting our local Koi pond. As you can see the fish are hardly coy, but rather greet him like an old friend. If I didn’t have work to do Gaiter would keep me there all day, he staring into their fish eyes, me making up nicknames for my zen dog. A small sampling; puddle belly, bub dubbins, pajama pants, pajama butt, shnugal flop, punker doodle, punkey lama, punker twoee, sniffer doodle, bubs, bubkins, bubber, fat duggins, gubbins, shenukas khan, snuckledorf, puggle thorp and lastly his probable favorite, spirit bear. I started wondering why on earth I feel so compelled to do this name calling with such a zen creature and realized that it’s a tradition handed down from my mother. Growing up she always had a sweet quiver of endearing names for my younger brother who, in his cuteness, completely deserved them. So in my nicknaming madness I think the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.