I was in my backyard the other day, and the neighbor’s dog, a big blockheaded yellow lab, starting barking at me.

He learned to bark from my dogs. Before the neighbors had a dog, my dogs would bark at them as they collected blackberries along the back fence. I’d hear the wife hiss, “Shush! Quiet! Go away! Git!”

Not particularly friendly, but then again, my dogs were barking at her.

Then one day they came home with a puppy. We’d hear them: “Bubba, no! Bubba, stop! Bubba, sit! Bubba, come!”

Bubba? Seriously, they named their dog Bubba?

My apologies to all you Bubbas out there – you  are all undoubtedly great, smart people – but why would anyone name their dog Bubba?

It just seems…  disrespectful to the dog, somehow.

No offense intended, of course.

So Bubba was barking at me, and instead of shushing him away, I was happily talking back to him. “Hi Bubby!” I called. “Do you have things to say? Hi Bub! How’s my Bubby Boy? Do you want to come over and play? Are you the Big Bubby Bubba-Boy, huh?”

My neighbor appeared from behind a shrub, pulling off her gardening gloves. “Hello,” she said a bit stiffly, looking annoyed. “I just have to say – his name isn’t Bubbles, or Blubby, or whatever you call him.”

I couldn’t believe I was hearing this. You don’t want me to call your dog pet names?

“His name,” she said formally, drawing herself up with dignity and speaking very distinctly, “is Bubba.

I almost started to laugh.

Are you serious?

I mean, “Bubba” is not a name one generally associates with high society, impeccable breeding, or even a modicum of sobriety.

To be fastidiously told to call the name “Bubba” with solemnity and poise is almost beyond belief, and certainly beyond my own personal capabilities.

I just cannot take the name too seriously. I mean, come on – Bubba?!

I must confess that I know a man named Bubba. He is tall and slender, handsome, well spoken, and a brilliant ER nurse. He will spring into action and single-handedly save your life without breaking a sweat. He has no funny accent, no improper sentence structure, no old straw hat, no rolling belly.

Pretty much the antithesis of what you’d expect from someone named Bubba – with my deepest and most sincere apologies to all you Bubbas out there!

I know. It’s just not fair.

So my neighbor and I had a little conversation about wacky dog people (such as myself) and their utter inability to refrain from silly pet names when speaking to any of our canine friends. She seemed a bit mystified, but finally agreed that Bub, and maybe even Bubby, would be acceptable alternatives.

Because we wouldn’t want to offend Bubba with some ridiculous name, would we?

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