Naming the Dog: What's Your Method?

BlogHer Original Post

I have named, or helped name, a lot of dogs and my life and I've never considered any of the things suggested in The Art of Naming a Dog. I'm a little surprised they didn't mention things like Scrabble name scores because they've covered pretty much every other naming issue possible. Sheesh, how silly.

When we adopted Skeeter, her name was "Scottie" -- a nice enough name but it didn't really suit her, or us. We tossed around names, as we drove her home, none of which seemed right. We talked about her obvious traits -- beagle/coonhound = southern redneck dog. "Can't you just see her lounging on the front porch of a Florida cracker house? Or an old southern colonial?" She needed a purely southern name and from there it wasn't long before we landed on the perfect name for her, and for us.

This is Skeeter Bess (or just Skeeter)

You'll notice we didn't use any of the techniques mentioned in that NY Times article to name Skeeter and I'm good with that. But, that did leave me wondering how other people chose names for their dogs -- so I decided to ask.

A whole lot of folks from the BlogHer community have adopted dogs and puppies over the last year, so I buzzed a handful and asked them how they chose the name for their new pups. Oddly enough, none of them seemed to use the ideas mentioned in that NY Times article. Maybe we're all doing it wrong? I don't know -- these dogs seem to have the perfect names, if you ask me.

Next Dog ->

This is Nellie Bly


Image Credit: Anne-Marie

When I saw Anne-Marie's family had adopted a dog, I wondered how she got such a great name -- now I know!

When we adopted Nellie in December 2011, we were told her name was Nellie Bly. Kind of a funny name for a rescued dog, right? Well, Nellie had been abandoned, but her previous owner had gotten her chipped. When looking up her information, the rescue shelter (Urban Pet Project in Atlanta) changed her name from Becca to Nellie Bly. So we assumed that it was the name her original owner had given her. We decided to keep the name Nellie Bly (or Nellie for short) because she responded to it well.

After doing a search, we liked the name even more. You see, according to Wikipedia, “Nellie Bly was the pen name of American journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochrane. She remains notable for two feats: a record-breaking trip around the world in emulation of Jules Verne's character Phileas Fogg, and an exposé in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from within.” Nellie was also a leading female industrialist and an inventor. What a cool name for such a wonderful dog!

Next Dog ->

Have you met Abbott?


Image Credit: Tanis Miller

I've really enjoyed watching Tanis (formerly known as Redneck Mommy) and her family with Abbott, he's one amazing animal, but I wondered how he got his name...

It all started with a pair of lovebirds a few years ago. They were new and nameless and in a moment of inspired geekery and homage to my inner political junkie, I named them Abe and Lester. After Lincoln and Lester B. Pearson. They were my very own squawking United Nations and from them I ended up with a cat named Thatcher and my beloved Boston Terrier, Nixon. A political pet theme had been born.

After Nixon lost his head (literally) my husband suggested we adopt another dog. Only this time, he thought we should adopt a dog big enough to not become coyote bait like little Nixon's fate. With some research, contemplation and a huge stroke of fate, I found myself the mother to an English Mastiff. Size really does matter, it would appear.

Since my geekery runs deep, I decided to keep with the political theme and after reading up on EVERY American, British and Canadian president and prime minister ever to keep office, I chose Abbott after Sir John Abbott. Abbott saw himself as a caretaker prime minister, stepping in after the death of Sir John A. Macdonald in 1891. He wasn't in office for long and his legacy is that he wasn't ranked as Canada's worst Prime Minister ever. Just the FOURTH worst.

I think it suits him - he looks like he wants to take care of EVERYONE, all of the time, particularly if it means licking all of the people...

Next Dog ->

Meet Shannon's puppy, Scotch


Image Credit: Shannon Chastaine

He's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Shannon says that seemed like a big name for a little dog so his little name, "Scotch", creates balance. He's also the color of Scotch and she often calls him "The Scotch Dog".

Next Dog ->

Meet Calliope Jane aka Callie


Image Credit: Jenna Hatfield

We accidentally stumbled upon my husband's dream dog, a German Shepherd, shortly after we began warming to the idea of getting a dog as a pet. Due to the accidental nature of the stumbling, we put our deposit down with plans to return and pick her up on a Saturday so we could buy dog dishes and food and a leash and a crate and all of the things. And, you know, name the dog. I tweeted and posted requests for name suggestions. For two days and nights, my husband and I sat on the front porch, reading through everyone's suggestions, arguing-not-arguing, and coming up empty-handed.

In the eleventh hour, I tossed out the name Calliope -- the Greek muse of epic poetry, mind you -- with the intention of shortening it Callie for everyday use. We looked at her picture a little more, practiced yelling it in the dark (which probably confused our neighbors), and decided to go with it. The boys were bummed that her name was not Leia, but she most certainly looked like a Callie. I announced her name on our blog, complete with our short list, and everyone else agreed. She's a Callie.

Next Dog ->

This is Max!


Image Credit: Elizabeth White

Hah. Charlie makes me laugh. I love that kid. Here's what his mom, Elizabeth, says about how Max got his name.

My son Charlie, age 8, has been wanting a dog of his own for over a year now. Never mind we already have a dog named Ruby (she came with that name). Apparently she’s my dog and he wants one of his own. After many weekend visits to various shelters Charlie decides on the dog he wants. The dog was a rescue and the shelter had not given him a name yet.

Charlie was adamant he chose the dog’s name because it is HIS dog. The very first name Charlie came up with was Max. I tried very hard not to laugh and suggested a slew of other dog names. Nope. Max was what Charlie wanted so Max it is.

The funny part is Charlie didn’t even make the connection to Max and Ruby until I mentioned it. That NickJr cartoon show was one of Charlie’s favorites as a toddler.

So now we have our very own Max and Ruby! (commence singing the theme song now) Ruby and Max, Max and Ruby, Ruby and Max…..

Share your dog naming stories!

~Denise
BlogHer Community Manager
Flamingo House Happenings

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