Monday, July 5, 2010


The nickname for Abby, Lala, generated out of what I call ‘baby talk’. I tended to speak to Abby in a singy-songy voice and often tried to find rhymes when I spoke to her. I’d also speak to her in an octave higher than what I usually talk. I often would say to Abby “I love you baby girl.” Often the words used with Abby would become abbreviated or amended so they would have a certain flow and rhythm when I spoke to her. Often these nicknames would happen seemingly spontaneously, and once it took hold, the name or phrase would stick. After that, I’d turn OCD and repeat the word many times, over and over. I don’t think Abby understood half the stuff I said. She was most likely judging my mood by the tone and volume in my voice. I often think that when a dog hears a person speaking in baby-talk or simply everyday conversation, it comforts and pleases them much the way that a cat owners are relaxed and assured when they hear their cats purring.

I am almost completely certain that ‘Lala’ finds its roots in the word ‘love’. I often told Abby how much I loved her, but at some point, the word morphed into ‘lala.’ I would say to Abby “I lala you whole lot, Baby Girl.” If I wanted to take things up a notch, I would say “I lala you whole lot, too much, whole time, every time, the end, amen.” Then I would punctuate it by singing the word ‘lala’. Abby almost always paid me no mind and kept sleeping or whatever it was she was doing. Eventually, I would simply call Abby “Lala.”

But that wasn’t the end of the story. Unbeknownst to me, there was a popular kid’s show aired on PBS called Tellytubbies. And as coincidence would have it, one of the Tellytubbies names was “Lala.” And like our dog, that Tellytubby was also yellow. It was my cousin who had a young daughter at the time who pointed out the fact that one of the Tellytubby’s names was Lala. If it wasn’t embarrassing enough to have someone catch you talking baby-talk to a dog, it is even worse having someone think you watch some silly kid’s show on PBS. I told her it was a coincidence, but I don’t know if she bought my story.

That is how the nickname “Lala” came into being.

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