I don’t remember my name from the Dark Days. I’m sure I had one, don’t you think? I mean, everybody has a name.

Names are given to you by somebody who is supposed to care about you. That’s why they call it a given name.

But if the people who used to have me didn’t care about me, maybe they never bothered to give me a name. I’ve decided to think of myself as nameless before I came to Asherpark.

Mom gave me a name as soon as she saw me. She told me she had always wanted a beautiful girl Aussie named Nellie, and so she gave me the name Nellie.

At first I thought she was joking. I mean I am an Aussie and a girl, but certainly not beautiful. I was such a pathetic stinking little rag when mom first saw me I can’t imagine why she gave me such an elegant name.

At the shelter they called me Pisspot and Stinky. Those names hurt my feelings, but since I was supposed to die at the shelter, it was the least of my worries.

When a miracle happened and I got to go to Asherpark, I was more worried about what was for dinner than what my new name would be.

All the dogs at Asherpark have nice names. Asher and Tess and Jack, those are strong beautiful names. And to think that my name, Nellie, is just as beautiful as the other names almost brings tears to my eyes.

Over time something even more wonderful happened at Asherpark. I got nicknames! I know I never had a nickname before. Now I have bunches of them. People call me Nell, Nell Nell, Nellie Bell, Baby, Sweetheart and Squirt. I love all my nicknames because you only get a nickname if somebody really really likes you.

Ash has lots of nicknames too. He answers to Asher, Ash, Ashman, Flyboy, Muttski and Blue Eyes. Me and Ash have the most nicknames. Jack and Tess really don’t have any nicknames. Jack gets called Jackson sometimes. Tess just has Tessie for a different sounding name. Behind her back the people call her the wicked witch because of all the trouble she causes, but that’s not really a nickname.

You may wonder how I can hear my nickname since I’m deaf. That’s easy. Us deaf dogs hear the sounds from the heart. You get a nickname from somebody who loves you and you can hear it clear as a bell, or in my case a Nellie Bell.






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