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April 17, 2013

What’s In A Pet Name?

A recent article in the New York Times delves deep into the efforts that go into naming a dog.  The article covers everything from general common sense, keep the name relatively short, to the more exact, use specific letters like “s” and “k” in a name to better get your
A recent article in the New York Times delves deep into the efforts that go into naming a dog.  The article covers everything from general common sense, keep the name relatively short, to the more exact, use specific letters like “s” and “k” in a name to better get your dogs attention.  I can’t say I agree with everything in the article, but it was interesting to read about all the different ways people come up with pet names.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

And of course, regardless of what name you pick, you have to take your pet to Pride Rock for the naming ceremony

Our first family dog, Indy, was formally known as Indiana Bones per a brilliant suggestion from my dad.  My mom’s dog Scout is named after her favorite character from To Kill A Mockingbird. As you may or may not know, Eko’s name was preordained long before I got him.  I always said that I would name my first dog Mr. Eko after my favorite character from the show LOST. The character was loyal, tough and adventurous.  I have always loved the name, but I have to admit it took Eko a while to grow into it.

Rhodesian RIdgeback

Eko looking real adventurous and tough his first week home!  If you picked him up he would be asleep within about thirty seconds

Big Baby

During his gangly “teenage” phase, Eko didn’t exactly have the look of a seasoned adventurer

Rhodesian Ridgeback, pet adventure

Now I couldn’t imagine Eko with any other name

All this is just my very long way of asking how you named your pet.  I get a kick of hearing all the unique stories about how people came to a name, so be sure to let me know!

Comments for What’s In A Pet Name?

  1. nerdgrl says:

    Steffi is a white mini schnauzer. Schnauzers are German. Hence, she needed a German name. My parents had already used “Elsa” for their schnauzer back in the day. My sister actually came up with “Why don’t you name her after Steffi Graf? She’s German.” And so we did. Steffi was my Valentine’s present the first Valentines after we were married. My husband said she was the gift of love that keeps on loving. As she continues to do after 13 1/2 years.

    My dad has had two Pembroke Welsh Corgis. First one was Brialynn (called her Bria) which means primrose in Welsh. His new puppy is Abby, after a golf course (Abragore?) that Dad loves in Wales.

  2. I got my name more unspectacular from the breeder. But mom’s cousin named his dog Ajax, like the cleaner, as he saw a commercial in tv :o)

  3. Mona Sigal says:

    Oh, if I could share some pics along with my explanations, the names would make so much more sense!
    I have to see a cat or a dog before I name them, and it usually takes me only seconds to come up with the name, I cannot explain it.
    Over the last few years, I have had a thing for Old Testament names – to make up for mundane names like VINCENT (Kitten with torn ear), Telushkin (Rabbi who writes fun books) or Purandelle (Romanian for gypsy orphan: she is the white trash equivalent).
    ADON is one of my cats’ name, which means Master in Hebrew or a worldly name for God. I named him after meeting him for a couple of hours at the shelter 9 years ago: never has a name been more appropriate for a cat. Celine is a prissy diva – no intended similarity with any living singer.
    The youngest generation of kitties ( I have a total of TEN) are: Isaac, Moses, Tzippy (For Zipporah) and Jacob.
    SOLOMON is my first dog: I fell in love with his 7 week old picture online at Petfinder.com. There could be ABSOLUTELY no doubt what his name would be, once I saw that face. His wisdom, patience and sense of justice in dealing with TEN cats and parents who are absolutely crazy nuts in love with him is simply astonishing. I sometimes think they KNOW what their names mean…

  4. Eleenie says:

    Our dogs names have always started with the letter B, no idea why though! To be honest, we’re slowly running out of ideas, if we have a male next time we’re fine but female names are running thin! Time perhaps to choose a different letter… Z would be a fun challenge 😉

  5. Tiffany F. says:

    I never been two and two together with your Eko’s name and Lost’s name. Duhhh! 🙂

  6. Aud says:

    My son named our late yellow lab – Turok, ‘son of the Dinosaur Hunter’ from a comic book. Well, all his 14 years of life, he was adventurous because we’ve taken him hiking, swimming and have visited many parks across the country, however, he was a 98 pounds of timid and gentle soul, his name should have been ‘Chicken’. First thunderstorm sent him hiding in the tub, sports fans’ hula made him tremble, he was attacked by 15 pounds dogs a few times, and was rescued by us countless time from humping dogs, our hens were not afraid of him, flies sent him hiding with his tail between his legs…needless to say, his name did not represent him. Our mail man brought treats to him on daily rounds, our vet(s) bragged about him to other clients in the lobby, he could not lift a paw to swipe at a flea…ya, our son of dinosaur hunter was the peace child in his own way. but he was the most loving and gentle dog in the worl

  7. tig23 says:

    That’s awesome that you named your dog after Mr. Eko. I never put two and two together! That being said, Penny was named from Lost as well. 😉

    Sadie…I thought long and hard about her name, and Sadie was the end result. I don’t know how I chose it, I just thought of it and looked at her and thought that name fit.

  8. emma says:

    Sometimes mom says our names also shape the personality that we develop. My sister got her name because mom wanted to have a baby and a girl but couldn’t so she got my Kuvasz sister instead and named her a girls name and she likes the “k” names, for me she wanted something kind of old and British sounding and when she saw Emma on a name list it just sounded right. My cat Miss Sophie got her name from Miss Sophie on the famous British comedy Dinner for One since that woman was such a fine lady and the cat is one of those prissy pretty kitties. We are always tossing around names for the next pet and we keep them on a list just in case I get a little sister some day.

  9. writetowag says:

    Wonderful!!!! Eko, you were an adorable puppy!!!! Here was my blog post about how Trev got his name: http://writetowag.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/whats-in-a-name-everything/

  10. Sage says:

    The shelter gave me the name ‘Aponi’, which is a Native American word for ‘butterfly’. I may race like crazy, but I don’t flit like a butterfly. It just didn’t fit my personality, so that name was gone, gone, gone. Sage was easy to learn (‘S’ word) and fits me a lot better. Mom even planted something called sage. I wonder what that meant?

  11. First came Boomer Sooner, named because he was born on a farm in Oklahoma. Pretty simple right?

    And, second is Dottie Mae, this name just came to us as we were throwing names around and it stuck. Funny thing though, when my grandpa met her for the first time and we told him her name he laughed and said, “You know I have a sister with that name right?” Oops, sorry great aunt Dorothy!

  12. When we first got Dakota his name was “Tanner” which didn’t suit him at all!
    I had always loved the name “Dakota” and I looked up the meaning……it means “trusted friend” in American Indian (I forget which Tribe)….that was it……it was a done deal.
    Dakota won a naming contest for Amy Shojai’s book “Lost & Found” Her readers had to vote on the name of one of the dogs for the book…..Dakota’s name won! He is in her book and we are credited in the front. 🙂

  13. Julieta says:

    Our sweet rescue dog’s name is Buffy, she already had that name when we adopted her and it suits her well because she loves to chase squirrels so we call her “Buffy the Squirrel Slayer”. Our 7 month old Chihuahua’s name is Tassie because she is like a Tasmanian Devil, always moving and getting in trouble 🙂

  14. Very cute puppy snaps Eko 😀

    Putney got his name from a line spoken by Sid James in an episode of my favourite radio comedy series, Hancock’s Half Hour. Cheyne Tavistock is named after the Walk in London and the town in Devon. Popper is so called because she and her litter-mates had only been called “puppy” for the first four months of their lives before they were rescued and re-homed. For a fresh start for her we tried a completely different name, but she wouldn’t respond to it at all so tried something that sounded similar to puppy and called her Poppy. When we discovered six dogs in our block were called that already (we would call “Poppy!” out on a walk and end up with someone else’s Poppy running up to us as well as our own!) we made the final change to her name.

  15. Leslie says:

    When I first brought home my pup, I went through a ton of names. I knew I wanted a human name for her, but nothing seemed to stick. Then I called her “Sara” one day and she responded. So we all joke that Sara picked out her own name! 🙂

  16. We chose the name Juno for the Roman Goddess of Partnership. We thought it was fitting for our new best friend 🙂 We do however get asked all the time if she’s named after the city in Alaska, the movie, or the Canadian music awards, but nope…none of the above. She’s a Goddess 😉 Her middle name is Mallory, after the town where she was born. We loved the names Luna and Dojo too, but ultimately Juno was the one that suited her the best. Great idea opening up this discussion!

  17. Eko most certainly has grown into the adventurous ego you named him for! Our most interestingly named cat got his moniker when he turned up on our doorstep virtually dead from starvation. Iggy Pop lived to make a mockery of his name.

  18. Sherrell fick says:

    Samantha Mcstein-burg housen flugen is her full name my husband gave her or Sammy for short. We always get a chuckle when people hear this. It must by the German heritage shining through. Great post.

  19. Sherrell fick says:

    Samantha Mc-Stein burg housin fluggin or just Sammy for short. My husband came up with the last name. Great post and love Eko’s name and puppy pictures. Have a great night.

  20. Carol Conner says:

    I have been in rescue for many years and my primary breed is ridgebacks. All my dogs have been rescued and I kept complaining that I wanted just one magic puppy that I could screw up by myself. Then two years ago I had the opportunity to get a beautiful puppy from a really good breeder. Since he is my magic puppy I had to name him Magic.
    He and EKO are about the same age and watching Eko’s adventures gives me great ideas for trips yet to come.

  21. Zena says:

    I think Eko is a great name. Easy to call and not at all embarrassing to shout out!
    Zena was easy. We had Zac and the two seemed to go together well. Also we thought naming after a warrior princess could be symbolic. She could grow to be strong and courageous – well we missed that one, but she is a princess!
    Raffles was by family debate and I can’t say I’m happy with it. We let my parents share in the fun of getting him and veto some of the names we’d come up with – mistake!
    In the end we came up with Raffles, Raffy for short but I still forget it and it just doesn’t roll of the tongue that well.
    I wish I’d asked you guys what to call him 🙂

  22. taylorjen says:

    This is heavy…. but a happy ending. My son Chris was diagnosed with cancer Dec. 2011. A get well surprise puppy-an energetic choc lab, was delivered to our house post op. Boy did she liven things up. It was a speedy & joyful recovery due to our playful spirited pup. Chris is 14 months cancer free. Taylor, our loving lucky charm is named after Chris’ doc- Dr. Taylor.

  23. Marcela says:

    So cute:) specially the one where Eko is asleep and you can see his big beautiful paws. Adorable. I named my girl Alex because I like that this is a unisex name.

  24. Riva is named after a small town along the Chesapeake Bay area, Maia and Titan’s names come from Greek mythology, Cheyenne’s name is from the Cheyenne Mountains in Colorado.

  25. Michelle says:

    Magglio, Maggs for short, was named after my favorite former Detroit Tigers player. He lives up to his name by being fast on his feet and loves to play and chase balls!

  26. That middle picture is so sweet. Eko has turned into a very handsome dog. Charlie and Hannah were named very randomly. Charlie, because I thought he ‘looked’ like a Charlie. Hannah, because I like Middle-Eastern sounding names. I’ve realised afterwards that Charlie and Hannah are very common names for dogs, but I can’t imagine them as anything else now 🙂

  27. Cute photo’s Will and Eko! My first dog was named after our favourite ski local ‘Jasper’, our next dog was 7 when we adopted him and ‘Buddy’ was already named. ‘Ginger’ a cat was named after Ginger on Gilligan’s Island and she was (you guessed it) orange. Petals and Blossum were also rescue cats and named before we adopted them but since I love gardening that worked out really well.

  28. Janet says:

    When we adopted our boy, we debated a few names, but Calvin is the one we all agreed on. Unfortunately, his first six months with us he was plagued with skin trouble that started in his ear, then progressed to his whole body, resulting in huge hair loss. It was misdiagnosed for months, but our new vet diagnosed it, and he’s wonderfully healthy now. Ironically, it turns out Calvin means “little bald one.” Poor buddy.

  29. I don’t know why, but Jerry plays a key role in naming our dachshunds. Our first one we named Mamiya, after Jerry’s medium format camera. Arri, is named after his tungsten lighting equipment. Arri is a German company, but she doesn’t seem to mind. Ha!

  30. Chopper's mom says:

    Chopper came to us with his name. At first I wasn’t crazy about it but it suits him. He gets super excited when my husband rides his motorcycle barking, jumping and eventually chasing it. Maybe that’s how he got his name.

    When I was 10 we adopted littermates. My dog was an all white Eng. Springer with the cutiest little brown “bow” on his behind. He was the biggest dog in the litter so the breeder called him Moose. So he became Beauregard Muus or Beau. His brother was a very speckled Springer that my dad decided made him Irish so he became Brandy O’Rien.

    Thanks for posting this Will I really enjoyed all the stories!

  31. Delft says:

    Wasn’t Eko just the cutest puppy!
    Is it the paws that are nearly as big as his nose?

  32. Misaki says:

    I got my name mostly because daddy loves all things japanese so seemed only right to give me a japanese name:-)

  33. My family got our first dog, a Cockapoo, when I was nine, and I got to name him: Dusty Buster (though I was the only one who ever acknowledged that he had a middle name). Dusty because when he was a puppy, the fur on his head was grayer than the rest of his body, so I reasoned that he looked dusty; Buster because that was my favorite character on the TV show ‘Arthur.’
    Thirteen years later, our Beagle/Basset Hound mix was harder to name. We adopted him from a shelter with the name Chewchee, which we didn’t like. My dad remembered an old TV show called ‘The People’s Choice’, where the main character had a Basset Hound named Cleo. Our new dog was a boy, though, so we couldn’t use that. My dad mentioned that the main actor in ‘The People’s Choice’ was Jackie Cooper, and so we all agreed to call our new dog Cooper!

  34. Amy says:

    My boy Duncan was named after a most handsome hero from the tv series Highlander named “Duncan, Duncan McCloud of the clan McCloud, there can be inly one”

  35. Anna says:

    Hey! Your blog rocks, just found it through the Purina app. Eko is gorgeous and it’s cool how he got his name.

    We’re both huge geeks, so we knew when we chose a Beagle that we’d pay homage to Captain Archer’s Beagle Porthos from “Star Trek Enterprise”, so Admiral Archer was a given. After we got him, we tried out all kinds of different names for the middle, and Ben just fit him best. That would be the end of it, but then when we got his CKC certificate, they’d misspelled his name as Benjiman, so we decided to keep it.

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