After many years without one (I had a couple when I was a kid) and several years of pleading for one (from my own kids), I capitulated to the idea of having a puppy in the family. But there was one (main) condition: it had to be my choice of breed. While I was swung towards the character dogs of my childhood (Wire Haired Fox Terriers), there was another I was looking for-an Airedale Terrier. The choice for this black and tan canine came about in several ways. First, the geographic and cultural connection: the breed hails from the Aire Valley in Yorkshire where I was born and bred myself. Second, I love their style-elegant yet quirky with it, bouncing along with those outsize paws!
By good fortune, we identified a local breeder and after a visit to see puppy plus her mother and father we were collared! Next came our first visit to the V.E.T (Note: check out Billy Connolly‘s old, hilarious rendition of DIVORCE on YouTube), the purchase of the doggy paraphernalia (this is like baby’s again…) and
a ritual no doubt familiar to millions of dog owners-what do we call her?
Our inspiration began with the mothers registered name which includes “Star”. Some distant place in the Sky at Night maybe? Too technical. Starla or Estella? Yes, but we know humans with those names! Star Wars led us to Princess Leia of Organa but that might get confused with commands like lie down…Space travel came to mind and the discovery that the first dog in space was a stray from the streets of Moscow. After being picked up, trained up and sent up in Sputnik 2, Laika was an inspiring, pioneering name for us. But after a Russian speaking friend told us that it would be pronounced Waika we thought, umh, maybe that would be lost in translation shouting it out during some wind swept walkie…
So we landed on a name from a favourite read of ours, George R.R. Martin’s epic cycle of novels A Song of Ice and Fire. The Stark Family’s (Star-k 9 is how I got there!) youngest daughter is one of the most enigmatic characters- gritty, quick to learn and confront adversity. So there you have it. Official name is Princess Arya, call name just Arya or in our current chewy, messy, puppy training period, Arya The Terrier!