A dog named HMV . . .

At the beginning of this week, it was announced that the high street chain HMV – vendors of CDs, DVDs, and computer games – had gone into administration. Whether or not it will survive is very much in the balance, although news reports today suggest that some buyers are interested in parts of the business and some stores.

HMV is an iconic brand and has an impressive trademark – the fox terrier listening to a wind-up gramophone. It’s interesting to see how that image has changed over the decades – today’s is much more stylized. But the original is based on a painting by Francis Barraud. The fox terrier was named Nipper, and he has quite a story.

The Gramophone Company acquired rights to the painting from Barraud in 1899, but it wasn’t used on records until 1909.

Well, the only reason I bring this all up, is that the name Chem that my parents gave their Jack Russell terrier is derived from His Master’s Voice (HMV). How can that be? Easy, really.

Chem joined our family in 1964, and it didn’t take long for her to acquire her name – because she looked just like the HMV dog. HMV? ‘Aych-Em-Vee’ – ‘Ay-Chem-Vee’ – Chem!

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Now there’s quite a debate among my two elder brothers and me as to who actually chose the name. Each takes credit, but sadly, they are mistaken. It was me.

Chem was a smashing little dog, full of spirit, and a great companion for my parents. In 1978 she was put to sleep at the ripe old age of 14 after developing a stomach tumour. Sadly missed and fondly remembered, even after all these years.

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