Pumpernickel, aka Buddha, but What’s in a Name?

By Matthew & Morgan Ferraro

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Pumpernickel, aka Buddha, but What’s in a Name?
After a year of the constant barrage of puppy photos from my wife, Morgan, I finally gave in the day she rescued little Pumpernickel. It was something about his gaze, she said. I heard dogs know around 60 words. Pumpernickel knows at least twice that many. Maybe three times. (Biased? Me?) Of course, he knows regular words: commands such as sit, stay, come, no, and good boy, heel, lay down, sleepy time, kisses, kiss mummy, kiss daddy, tummy tickle, paw, down, ball, etc.(20+) Then there are wildlife words: snakey, birdy, fishy, doggy, mean coyote, bad coyote, lizzy, spidey, bad flower, good flower, bad snakey, Where’s the Deery?,Where’s the Wabbit? (20+) The iterations of his name: (20+) Pumpernickel, Pumpy, Pump, Little Guy, Pumper, Schnickel, Pumpershnicky, Pumpkin, Bubby, Bubba, Pooh Head, Pooh Brain, Little Pooh, The King, Skootchy Boy...all he will respond to if called. Our favorite is Buddha. He’s cultured: We brought him to “Animal Farm” at Theatricum Botanicum, where he listened intently with wonder as the animals contemplated freedom. His head moved like an eagle, jerking from left to right as he followed the movement of animals on stage. He softly growled at Napoleon, aware of his dictatorial instincts. I think the excitement of utopia for animals touched him deeply. Ultimately, we left because he started voice opposition to the chaos as the story unraveled. Oh, yeah, and more animals came on stage! Pumpernickel did, however, sit through Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring at the Ojai Music Festival in the Libby Bowl. Once past the guard, he sat in front of the empty seat next to us, silently, absorbing every note, until the end, when, rather than applaud, he gently barked, which gave the woman next to him a fright, but apologized by licking her shoe. He’s also athletic. We made him an Olympic-size sandbox where he’s in training for the Fastest Deepest Digger Golden Bone Award. He’s a sophisticated, yet humble little pooch. Very Buddha like. Like Buddha, he is one of a kind. He is his own breed. For those who like the purebreads [sic ‘em], Pump is pure “Pumpernickel.” Better yet, the little guy we thought we saved, saved us.

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