A Shiva By Any Other Name

I cannot tell a lie. One of the reasons I can’t wait to adopt a second dog is that I can’t wait to come up with a new name. It is truly my favourite part. Is that weird?

Names are fascinating to me. Their origins and history, how they have varying levels of importance throughout different cultures. I love discovering new ones. I love how a name can have personal connotations. I love how everyone has an opinion on what makes a “good” name. I love how something so simple has so many deeper ramifications throughout one’s life. Names are important in human society, more important almost than many other things we believe define us. What’s more, they are usually something we have no control over.

As a former student of Latin and mythology, my name preferences tend to bend toward the ancient. If I ever have children, I am probably going to have to curb my affection for Bellerophon and Minerva. It just wouldn’t be fair to my child to saddle them with such a heavy moniker. But when it comes to my animals… I don’t think I will be nearly as restrained!

It took us a few days to decide on Shiva’s name after we brought her home. For a while we debated just calling her “Dog.” But my passion for names wouldn’t allow it. So we wrote a list – a very long list – of every possible name we could think of. We wanted it to be short, no more than two syllables. It also had to be easy to say. Most importantly, it couldn’t be boring. Unique names only, please.

Would a Shiva by any other name be as nuts?

If I remember correctly, our short-list included:

  • Loki
  • Pepper
  • Leda
  • Tifa
  • Freya

I still kind of like Pepper.

I don’t remember how we settled on Shiva. It just seemed to work. It’s easy to say, can be shortened a million different ways, and is fairly gender-neutral. Yes, I am the kind of person who would name my giant male mastiff, “Princess”. I figure we humans may be stuck with restrictive gender norms, but there is no way I am forcing the same on my dog. Actually, I had a friend growing up who was given permission to name the family’s male golden retriever. She was six at the time and decided upon “Princess Tiffany of the Meadows.” They ended up just calling him Tiffer.

But I digress.

I am curious how you came up with your dog’s or cat’s name. Do you like human names for animals? I once knew a miniature schnauzer named “Richard.” It sill strikes me as a little odd. Do you prefer more descriptive names, like “Shadow” or “Snowball”? Did it take you a long time to decide? Do you even attribute any importance to names at all, human or animal? Please feel free to share any and all name-related biases in the comments!

62 thoughts on “A Shiva By Any Other Name

  1. I keep a list of potential dog names on my phone (using my colornote app). That way, whenever I come up with a good one, I can save it so I don’t forget.

    I tend to like names that have to do with food ….Oreo, Munchkin(dunkin donuts). Misty came with her name, and after being called Misty for the first 2 years of her life, she go to keep her nonsilly name.

    My current list has Sugar, Twix, Goober, Twinkie, Spree, Cookie, Latte, Caramel, Taffy….well, you get the idea.


    • I love that you keep a list! And I love the name Twix, but don’t worry, I won’t steal it.

      I already call Shiva Goober all the time. 🙂


  2. Human names kinda weird me out. The strangest would be dogs “Roger” and “Larry”.

    That being said, I have a dog called Winona! I wasn’t planning to keep her, and started calling her Winona for fun… First the name stuck, and then the dog got stuck here. The name was a habit by then. We mostly call her “Win”, which I still find pretty cute.

    I can say, I can’t stand ‘common’ names. Working in a boarding kennel, I have met my share of Bellas, Charlies, Maxes, Mollys and Millys. I can’t imagine ever having a dog with these names – they are tainted by the millions of dogs I’ve already met with that name.

    Of the more unusual names I encountered in boarding kennels, I’ve met a “Nosepeg”, and littermates called “Numba1” and “Numba2”. And then there were two dogs from the same family, called “Socrates” (“Sox”) and “Aristotle” (“Ali”)?


    • Larry. 🙂 Love it. That is going to be at the top of my new list now. Just because it’s so weird. Heh. Larry the Dog.

      Win is adorable, by the way. Great choice!

      I am loving the philosophy names but admit to being very weirded out by Nosepeg.



  3. I’m all over the map with dog names. For me, the most important thing is that the name fit the dog’s personality.

    We were inspired to name Agatha and Christie because we were watching Mystery on PBS 20 years ago when we adopted them. But Agatha was definitely an “Agatha”–a little snooty, a busybody, kind of old-fashioned. Christie was a cheerleader.

    Shadow came to us named Jackie. But shortly after we adopted her I discovered her habit of standing directly behind me with her nose by the back of my knee. She was black and silent and very quiet–she was definitely a Shadow.

    We had a list of 20 names for Honey before we knew which puppy we were going to get. We were looking for literary tie ins and were leaning toward Stella with a registration name of Painting Starry Nights (stella, star? Van Gogh? cute, huh?).

    Once we met her, it was obvious she was not a Stella. It was too big a name for her. She just had to be a Honey. It fits her perfectly.

    Sometimes I wonder if our dogs grow into the names we give them. Did Agatha become more neurotic because I gave her that name?

    Will you actually pick a name before you meet your first dog, Kristine? Or will it change once you see who comes home with you next?


    • Honey’s name does suit her perfectly, I totally agree. Though the Van Gogh reference would have been lovely as well, even if a little ill-fitting.

      I wonder that too, just as I wonder that about people. Our perceptions of what a name means definitely shapes our reactions to that person or animal. Since our dogs learn from us, I don’t think it is too far off. It makes sense they would rise to our expectaions. Does that mean Shiva ate all of my shoes that first summer because of her name?

      Hmmmm. Maybe we should have stuck with her shelter name – Tessa. It may have made her just a little sweeter.

      I will probably have a list of names I like and then end up deciding at the last minute. That seems to be how we roll. With Shiva we kind of decided at our first vet visit after feeling stupid for not being able to answer a simple question.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  4. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of Shiva with a big nose I LOVE IT! It’s a whole new adorable side of her and I hope Pamela sees it too 🙂

    You might appreciate this…I have a little friend called Freya, interestingly enough, who sometimes appears in my blog. Her sister’s name is Antigone. How’s that for opposites?

    I always assumed you had named Shiva for her destructive tendencies. No?


    • I am glad you like it! I was having fun playing with angles while we waited for the salmon fudge to bake. Yum… ???

      Antigone! I used to say I would name a daughter Antigone. I still love it. It may be a little too much for a dog, however. Can’t see myself yelling that at an agility trial. 😉

      We didn’t actually, it just kind of happened that way! Curious indeed.


  5. I agonize over names! 🙂 I named our new pup Clewe after much deliberation. I wanted something that matched Gromit (my older dog) in some way (not the obvious Wallace!), and also had something to do with knitting. I had a listed miles long before setting though. (More on Clewe’s name here: http://socialpuppy.wordpress.com/clewe/.)

    I don’t like people names on my dogs, because I already have kids :). It’s just too confusing. I generally disdain “looks like” names because I feel like they are too obvious — plus I teach at a dog-training school, and I cannot tell you how many Patches, Brownies, etc. we have had. I like names to mean something or reference something, and I like them to be somewhat unusual — I compete in agility, and it’s a lot easier if no other dog has my dog’s name.

    What I named my childhood pets … Princess, Trash Cat, and Pepper! 🙂


    • I really like the name Clewe and hadn’t heard of it before until I found your blog. It’s cute AND unique.

      Yay for Pepper! For some reason, I still almost wish we had called her that. Oh well.

      Heh, Trash Cat, too awesome. I didn’t get to name the family dog, my parents did. But I named my gerbil Elmo. Still have no idea why I thought that was an appropriate name. Should have called him Pepper.


  6. What a great topic! Fun to read other’s comments on this. I love names too Kristine. I have my favorites picked out and often collect names people give their dogs just for fun.

    I have to admit that most of my pets came with names, so I haven’t had much chance to use the names I’ve collected. Even Jasper, who came into our shelter without a name, was named by another volunteer after I named his sister, Jasmine.

    Daisy’s name I decided to keep because it fit her. A Daisy is a beautiful flower, but oh so delicate. That is my Daisy. A beautiful flower, but sensitive and fragile like a Daisy.

    My other dogs had cool names and I liked them, so I couldn’t hange them – Aspen and Indy. I have had a few fosters too. By far the coolest name was Pixel. He was a Dalmatian. Awesome name isn’t it?


    • I like the name Jasper for a dog. It’s nice-sounding and not overly common either.

      Daisy is sweet, but it definitely needs to fit the dog. Love Indy, of course! And Pixel is pure genius! I need to write these down somewhere.


  7. As some people have astutely figured out, Our Best Friend is a pseudonym. Suffice to say I named him something I kind of regret. I don’t believe in human names for animals, but when he walked, he just looked like… And it’s embarrassing when we meet a human so named. “Hey! You and my dog have the same name!”

    Funniest name we ever ran across belonged to a tiny minature pinscher cross at a campground. He raced onto our site to make friends with the girls, and next thing we hear is someone yelling, “Pork Chop! Come!”


    • Meh, it really is just a name. As long as your dog responds to it, right? Besides, you can always make up for it with your next dog! 😉 I’ve always liked Our Best Friend as an online nickname, it makes me smile every time you use it.

      Pork Chop? Hilarious! I wonder who was responsible for that choice in the family…


  8. When we got my dog, my mom & I wanted to use a person’s name for her. We just kept trying out how different names sounded with our last name. We also wanted something that sounded cool and fun, and we picked a trendy name for her. However, as the years grew on, and her personality formed, while I loved her name, I started calling her something totally different, Hannah May. It just fit her more than her real name. She was a smart one, and she answered to both names. As for Alex, he was a gift from Marc’s old girlfriend. He was named after her. Good thing I am not easily bothered.


    • Hannah May, too sweet. I’ve always loved the name Hannah and think it works well for a dog. I’ll have to put it on my list!

      Blech. That’s why you should never name your dog after a person you know. Unless that person has already passed away.

      Alex does really seem to suit him, however. Another bit of evidence for the animal growing to fit the name theory, perhaps?


  9. Well, I just liked the name Bella and when I went looking for a dog I was really hoping to find a girl dog to give the name to.

    Then, with Daisy I saw a picture of her before I picked her name. I wanted a country, sourthen type name to go with her hound-dog self. So I picked Daisy. Really, her whole name is Daisy Mae. Very sweet and southern.


    • Daisy Mae, so very sweet. One of Shiva’s friends is called Ella Mae, it was the first time I’d ever met a dog with two names like that. Guess it is not all that unique after all!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  10. Fun post! We named Gus after Gus-Gus from Cinderella…random. We definitely prefer human names. If/when we add another dogger to our mix, we already love the name, Newman. Mainly so when the dog walked into the room we could say, “hello, Newman” a la Seinfeld. 🙂

    My brother and sister-in-law named their dogs and cat after candy bars: Mr. Goodbar, Baby Ruth (RIP sweet Ruthie), Little Debbie, Charleston Chew, and Reeses Pieces!


    • Really? After Cinderella? That is so cool. I love the name even more now. 🙂

      LOL. I just told my husband your Newman idea and he laughed. This is why I like you so much! I may have to steal this one for a future kitty…


  11. Our guy Sisko got his name from Star Trek as my wife is a bit of a trekie.

    Our little girl’s name is the Egyptian god of the protector of women.


  12. Great post! I love names as well … one of my dreams is to be able to name a horse one day (it’s sort of taboo in the horse world to rename a horse – and so I dream of one day being able to name a foal, giving it not only a registered name that pays tribute to both the sire and dam line the horse springs from, but also one that will lend itself well to a barn name that doesn’t sound ridiculous, and somewhat fits the horse’s appearance and personality). Anyway, clearly all of my current animals (Tucker, Olivia, Tanner, Phoebe, and Finn) have human names, and what’s more they have middle names as well. Finn is the only one who takes after my father and the other men on my dad’s side of the family and uses his middle name as a first name. It has not always been this way, though, nor do I think it will remain that way.

    In any event, if you do decide to get another dog, I will be anxious to hear what his or her name will be.


    • Middle names too, that’s interesting. I’ve never really even thought of getting to come up with two names! Now I am kind of sad I didn’t think of that. And jealous.

      I love the name Finn. And Phoebe. And Tanner. And, and, and… You clearly have great name taste!

      You and me both!


  13. I love your post and am with you on the whole ‘choose a name’ thing. I, too, believe in the power of names, and have therefore put a lot of thinking into choosing the right one for both my human daughter and my whippet boy. Although, in the end, it was my daughter (then 5 years old) who came up with the name for the dog: George. A very appropriate choice for him, we thought, as he displays some ‘Georgie’ traits and, more importantly, thinks he’s a human.
    I love the name Shiva, it definitely suits the little cutie in your photos.
    I’m really glad I (finally) found your blog.

    Didi (&George)


    • George!

      I have always liked that name for an animal and may end up calling a cat that one day. “Georgie” is just so cute as well.

      I am glad you did as well to help me find yours!


  14. Well, i like gender neutral names almost always for my girlie dogs and sometimes for the boy dogs. I generally have a short list of names before I get the pup and then I see which one “fits” best. Some of the names are inspired by tv shows… (Shayne and foster boy Dexter). I really like having people names for the dogs–though this is a more adult desire…. my childhood pets being “Fluffy, Meeko, Tazzie, Panther and Bandit” LOL.

    I like the names to be a little different, not super common–and sometimes cultural/ethnic…i consider irish/scottish names for the border collies and I was born in Hawaii so I always consider Hawaiian names

    Rio was named after a military acronym… i was trying to describe my relationship with my pups and i feel like they are sort of my backseat drivers, we go on a journey together…. most of the time I pick the way but sometimes i listen to the advice of the backseat driver and the journey would stink w/o them… It also made me think of 2-seater fighter jets … you have the pilot and the radar intercept officer–or R.I.O the pilot is at the helm but the journey woulnd’t be safe with out the RIO helping guide and direct and inform the pilot. I liked the name Rio so I went with it.

    Shiva, Ziva, Jordan, and Dylan were on the list for shayne (and are still on the list for future girl dog names).

    I’m a huge math/science nerd and i considered nerdy names… Pi (short for Pythagoras–see that, a Two for One!), Euclid, Schrodinger (Schroder for short), etc. lol


    • I didn’t know that about Rio. That’s fascinating! Nor did I know you were born in Hawaii. I am so glad I wrote this post. Look at all I have learned.

      Ziva is awesome but I don’t think I could use it now, which is too bad.

      My husband likes your math names because he is a nerd too. Though, to be fair, I like the name Schroeder a lot but that has more to do with Charlie Brown than it does with any numbers guy.


    • Is a dog ever too old for a name change? Dogs are pretty smart and i think as long as you work with them on teaching a new name, they will pick up what it means pretty fast. Just need the right motivation, and stinky treats. 🙂

      Not even a hint?


  15. I had cats named Isis and Morgaine so I’m definitely a fan of pulling names from the ancient. Now I have Maggie and Sadie – nothing ancient about those names but Sadie came with hers and Maggie just fit better than anything else, ancient or otherwise, we could come up with. Isn’t it funny how names just fit sometimes? Even with such common dog names as Maggie and Sadie, they are the perfect names for my girls. Perhaps my next dog will be Osiris or Henry – who knows?


  16. As someone with a unique first name (Catalina isn’t my real name 🙂 ) I think names are very important. My Mom thought she was making up a name that would be easy for everyone to say, but by the time I was 5 I had a little poem that I used to explain to people the proper pronunciation of my name. Great way to start kindergarten LOL! Actually I love my name.
    Anyway, when I got Tibby I wanted a name that is easy to say and understand. After having pets named Saveta, Rakeeta, Nibulius, Sirseeweed, Mirseeweed, Prisca…. I wanted something that the vet wouldn’t always ask, “And how do you spell that again?” when I called to make appts.
    Funny thing is: People sometimes think Tibby’s name is Tippy or that she is a boy. Even when she is wearing a pink collar, leash and dress!!
    I love Shiva’s name – unique and easy to say. Perfect!
    Does she have a middle name? I love to give pets first, middle and last names. Tibby’s full name is Tibbit Tilver Tweed. And Tibbit is a palindrome!
    Fun post BTW – I love reading everyones comments on your posts.


  17. Darby’s name came to me in a dream — before I ever met him. Weird, but true. Baudelaire (Bad Kitty Bo) is named after a french poet, but it’s an uncommon name, so I don’t count it as a “human” name. Musette was named because of her “mew-ing” and I hated the name “Momma Kitty”, which was her moniker before I took her home. Weebles got her name because I set her on the floor when she was three days old so the dog could meet her. She swayed and wobbled, but didn’t fall down 🙂

    Apparently I have no rhyme or reason at all for naming pets, but I like them to have unique names you don’t hear every day.


  18. I suppose that there were several reasons why Jersey got her name. I had a favorite horse I used to ride and her name was Jersey. Jersey cows are the same colour as Vizslas and finally, Jersey is an easy name to say.


  19. Mickey- We had recently moved to Canada from Holland. It’s not so unusual to call silly things “mickey mouse” there… Mickey is so cute he actually makes people laugh (adorable face, slightly too long body)… and then he was Mickey!

    Kayloo- The rescue org called her Laloo. I thought this was hard to say. The woman who fostered Kayloo was named “Kay”- Laloo + Kay = Kayloo.

    However, I have learned from the name Kayloo. If I ever have kids I will (probably) name them something easily understandable in loud settings so they don’t have to be constantly correcting people “No, not Kaylee, KayLOO…”

    I volunteered with a woman named Shiva- cool name 🙂


    • I learned the hard way – nobody ever gets my son’s name right.

      When I was picking his name, I wanted it to be easy to spell and pronounce when you saw it written down, but I didn’t want to name him something so common that if I called it out at a park, 5 kids looked up.

      But it backfired, because while it’s not a common name, it’s similar to two common names and I can hear the exasperation in his voice when he has to correct someone for the second or third time.


  20. I am so bad at naming my dogs. Can you name my next one?

    I was SO original I named my first dog after the local nickname for the city we lived in, and named our second one off some weird fascination I have with the name Stella.

    ORIGINAL I tell ya!


  21. I chose Dante by scrolling through a list of traditional Italian names until I found one that was easily pronounced and that I actually liked (seeing as he’s an Italian Greyhound, I went with the obvious). 🙂 But I can definitely see going with something awesome, like a Viking god. My brother’s dog Anja was almost Freya too! My next pup will probably wind up with something geeky, like Jayne (from Firefly) or DW (for Doctor Who).


  22. We stuck with Milly, because she had been named by the shelter and been there for 8 months. At the time we didn’t want to confuse her, but I don’t think she really cares 🙂 She is called by so many different names now and answers to all of them lol Poppet Rocket was named that because she is so fast, but she also gets called various things. I think it’s the way I say it, but cats are different 🙂
    BTW I noticed you left a comment on According to Gus today and wanted to let you know, incase you didn’t, it’s me – blanket ID 🙂


  23. One of my favorite parts about being a vet is all the awesome pet names. I don’t think I have EVER heard one I have not liked. My own favorite (I know you said dogs and cats, but these were our ratties…) were our two hairless rats named Fuzzy and Wuzzy after the poem about the bear : )


  24. When Ava came to me, she was 9 months old and had never been given a real name. I agonized over a name for a couple days. I researched and wrote down tons for names and got it down to three – Ava, Audrey, and Chloe. I really wanted her named to be girly and human because that is what her personality was like. So I finally settled on Ava, after Ava Gardner. 🙂 It’s funny how much we put into a name, but it makes sense – that will be their identity (to others especially) for their whole life. I’ve known a couple dogs named ‘chaos’ and thought – well, everyone who meets that dog is going to think he crazy even if he isn’t.

    I love the name Shiva – great pick. I also love Loki on your list. 🙂


  25. I think a name is a very important thing. We always love looking through the names we receive from our policyholders. Some of the craziest ones have been Windshield, Bill Cosby, Baggy Pants, and Mr. Flower. 🙂


  26. We just got 2 shiba inu puppies at once (OMG 2 dogs is bananas) and they came with names – Thresher and Eli. We were going to just keep the names because we didn’t want to offend the previous owners, but Thresher (the only Navy submarine to ever sink, therefore killing every man on board in the 1930s) was incredibly depressing to shout repeatedly while running down the street chasing the little bugger. So we changed his name to Crash, because he sort of looks like Crash Bandicoot (a video game character) and now I’m kind of smitten by his antics because he’s got such a cute name 🙂


  27. Both of my current dogs were named within some very common restrictions: AKC character limit at the time, breeder’s litter alphabet, breeder’s kennel name, breeders allowed us to add our kennel name, my own preference to have the dog’s call name actually part of the registered name and something meaningful to our non-doggy life.

    So that resulted in Freya (Sciroco’s Freya vom Viersen) – personal connection being my husband’s Norwegian ancestry leading to a Norse goddess’s name, and Axe (Precious Gems Axel vom Viersen) – personal connection Axe, as in a firefighter’s axe, for my husband’s career. Hey, wait, where’s MY connections? LOL


  28. I am not a fan of human names for dogs. I don’t know why, I guess I just prefer more uniqueness or quirkiness. Our current dogs all came to us with their names, except for Lilac, who was named Line. It’s not easy to say or correct, and she’s more of a Squiggle. I like color names, and Lilac was close to Line, so we went with it. I know a lot of people like to change their dogs’ names after they get them, but I’ve never been that big on it. I guess when you get dogs with names like Treat, Hawk, Blueberry and Bunny, you just stick with it! lol If I had to think of a new name, I’d obsess over it forever!


  29. I remember when the parents first showed me a picture of Rikki. They were thinking of names. Dad was SOO keen on naming him Tanner.


    I took ONE look at the puppy in the picture and replied “Rikki”

    Ha ha.

    So I got to name him. Mom loved the name, she said it reminded her of the mongoose in The Jungle Book. So we say his full name is ‘Rikki tikki tavi’, but he’s just plain Rikki to us. ^^

    Other dogs names I enjoy is Brutus (for a bulldog), or Muffins (for my dear Dandie)… How could a Dandie Dinmont NOT be named Muffins.


    But it all comes down to seeing the dog and going from there. ^^


  30. LOVE the blog post and all the comments! I am a big mythology fan too!

    Of the few dogs my family has had, all of their names started with the letter “R”. The first two were named Rutger and Rudolph aka Rugby and Ruddy.

    My brother and I spent many years trying to find names for our “one-day dogs”. I think our (well, my) short lists were Rosie, Royal, and Rhea for girls. And Rhett, Rookie, and Rookus for boys.

    But Riley and Remus suit their names very well. Riley’s middle name is Jane after the character in Pride and Predjudice and Ree-Ree’s is Nicodemus. That one was kind of an accident. 🙂

    For a better story go here:http://swimtaxi234.blogspot.com/2010/09/remus-and-riley-how-we-picked-them-and.html


  31. I believe a name is one of the most important things I can give an animal too. I find it fascinating as well. A name just seems to come to us and then, it fits.

    Brut-my husband named him after the aftershave, but little did we know he was going to fill into the name wholeheartly. 🙂

    Silver-since Silver is all black and has a tiny white line on her chest and I named her Silver for my Silver lining.

    We picked out Fiona and Zappa’s name before they were born. Fiona after the singer Fiona Apple and it fits her like a T. Zappa after the great guiartise Zappa. And to know Frank’s music is to love Zappa.

    Chance was named by his previous owner, but it also fits him like a glove. He’s my second Chance.

    And Blaze was named for the white blaze down her nose, little did I know all of the other meanings it would entail from her personality.


  32. I love unique names, and funny ones.. Like a Great Dane named Tiny or something, those are my favorite. When we got “The Dog” I wanted a cool name but I had to share the naming responsibility with my brother and he wanted a human name. Charlie was what we finally agreed on. Though I call him Diablo from time to time.


  33. We have the stories of each dog’s name on their individual pages on the website, but everyone’s favorite is Rusty – the classic accidental name. He came to us as Rojo (Spanish for Red), but that did not fit. We started calling him Boris (because we already had Natasha), but that did not fit. We started working through numerous Russian and Native American names, but none fit. During the whole process, we kept referring to him as “That Rusty Colored Dog.” That fit.

    Cheoah was named that because a Native American we met told us we would soon be getting a new female Siberian Husky named Cheoah, Cherokee for “Spirit”. When we rescued Cheoah from behind a foreclosed house, we had no idea what her name was but used Cheoah to fulfill the premonition. All wonderful except for the fact that we live beside the Eastern Band Cherokee Reservation and never bothered to check the translation. Cheoah means Otter. And since all school children on the reservation are taught both English and Cherokee, many people here know that we have a dog named Otter.


  34. The name is important ! Sometimes I think we should wait to see how their character evolves and give them a name accordingly.

    With Kenzo it was easy, my wife loves fashion and apparantly there is a famous designer with that name? I just liked the sound of it and that is that. Viva was already name by her former owners and actually I like the spanish link and make lots of comments to her like “Brava Viva” or “Viva la bella”. Correct my spanish.

    Btw. Loki and Freya on your list was fun to read, lot ot dogs over here (denmark) are given names of the gods from nordic mythology.


  35. Hey,

    Sorry we’re late to the discussion.

    Charlie’s after Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley.

    Emma’s after Austen’s Emma.

    Tigress came with her name. (I thought it was impressive enough for a cat to know her name and come when called, so didn’t want to mess with it.)

    I tend to prefer people names for dogs. I was an English major, can you tell?

    I saw an episode of Its Me or the Dog where there was a little female dog (maybe Pomeranian?) who was jokingly called Killer when she was a puppy. And she grew into a nasty, insecure little bitch who snarled and spit and bit and lunged.

    Be careful what you wish for!


  36. I have to remember that you like coming up with names when we get another dog 🙂 We had a hell of the time coming up with good names, particularly since we insist that they have to start with J (because we are all J’s here)

    Jasmine got her name because it was the loveliest, sweetest girl name starting with J we could come up with.

    J.D. got his name because he is Jasmine’s dog 🙂


  37. I’ve always tended to go for people names for dogs, perhaps because I didn’t have children? I know they’re my substitute kids:) I named Frankie from his look on the photos I saw of him before I bought him and he definitely is a Frankie. Beryl was already Beryl and I was going to change it to Angie which was going to be my next female dog’s name. But she is a Beryl and it’s quite a conversation starter:) I like 2 syllable names, anything more is harder to call, lol.

    Great comments here:)


  38. I remember we had a big list of names… somehow Bella just seemed right, but now I can’t remember how we came up with it! Some of our other choices were Gizmo and Amstel… they totally wouldn’t have suited her.


  39. That’s so interesting about Shiva’s name – I always thought she was named after some exotic goddess or something!

    I have to admit – I know it goes against the popular norm – but I hate human names for animals. At least common, every day names like Molly or Oscar – stuff like that. It seems to be part of the very damaging trend to ‘humanise animals’, which I really hate. I don’t mind if they’re named after someone with historical or mythical or literary significance.

    The nicest names I thikn are the ones with “meaning” and fit the dog’s background or looks or personality. I also like unique names – I’d hate to have a name that lots of other people – (hah! Says the person who has named her dog Honey – one of the most popular dog names ever!!)

    In my defence, we only chose Honey because I wanted food names for all my animals and I wanted something to go with their colour – so Honey really is named after the food and not the term of endearment. Also we wanted a “pair name” with our cat too. So we went through lots of “pairs” (I knew someone with dogs called Salt & Pepper, and another with rabbits called Gucci & Chanel!) – and we loved “Honey & Lemon” – not only because it fit Honey’s fawn colour but because it is a drink which makes you feel better – which I think has a nice meaning! And of course, Lemon is a very unusual, unique name for a cat. And this time round, of course, we wanted to keep the pairing so had to find a name which would go with Honey but still be a food and still be unique! I think we did OK with “Muesli” – ! 🙂



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