I Dub Thee, Sir Henri

I Dub Thee, Sir Henri

The naming of a knight of the conference table

Sir Henri, our black Shar-Pei, has the grand title of Chief of Staff at McLaughlin & Associates and he is an integral part of our team.

He is very popular with staff, clients and other tenants in our building and just about everyone asks how Sir Henri got his name.

Well, poor little Sir Henri had a terrible start to life.  At about two years of his age he was rescued from an abusive owner who had abandoned him for days leaving him tied up in the backyard in the middle of a blazing hot summer with no water, food or shelter.  He had also been physically abused and when we first met him, in an animal shelter, he was at the bottom of the pecking order.

Life certainly had not improved much for him even after being rescued.

One of my oldest friends from school always called me Henry. If there was a reason ‘why’, after 40 years, it is now long forgotten.

But that old school friend was probably one of my first best mates and I could tell that this little fella was going to become my new best mate, I bestowed the name Henry on him, in honour of mateship.  A little inside joke that he and I would share the rest of our lives.

While my naming decision was purely personal, after some research, I discovered I had inadvertently followed a tradition for this breed.

The Shar-Pei breed is one of, if not, the oldest breed of dog still in existence.  Originally from China the breed is over 2000 years old and can be traced back to the Han dynasty (202 B.C. – A.D. 220).  Over the years it was the favoured dog of emperors and aristocracy.  A bit like the Corgi and British Royal family.

This, however, had repercussions for the breed when the Communists took power in China.  During the revolution the breed was viewed as symbolic of the bourgeois class and everything that they considered bad with the imperial system so they ordered their large-scale extermination.  The Communists wanted no reminders of the era that preceded them.

It seemed to me that our Henry had, like his forefathers before him, been through some tough times yet still he retained an air of royalty.  He just had that regal look about him.  So, without any pomp or ceremony I christened him “Sir Henry” to and bestowed on him, his due royal station in life.

Several months later after having witnessed how Sir Henri had come to rule our household and the office I thought that Henry should be changed to Henri which in French means: Home Ruler or one who rules his household.

What could be a more appropriate name ? And that is how “Sir Henri” got his name.

By John McLaughlin
Principal, McLaughlin & Associates Lawyers