What's in a Name?

When we’re out and about, people ask me my puppy’s name. I reply, “Honey,” and they nearly always reply with a smile and say “Oh, of course.” Everyone seems to think it fits.

Honey Surveying Her Realm.

Honey surveying her realm.

Before we knew which puppy from the litter would be ours, we brainstormed names: “Sugar”, “Lyric”, “Muffin”, along with 20 others. I became quite attached to “Stella.”

But I vowed not to pick a name until we knew which pup was ours. When we met our beautiful golden girl, it was quickly obvious she was no “Stella.” That name was too big for her; she was definitely a “Honey.”

Our previous dog, “Shadow”, had been named “Jackie” by her first family. We called her that for about 2 weeks. Then one day I called out to my husband, “Where’s the dog?” He pointed down to where she stood quietly, nearly touching the back of my knee and said, “We should call her Shadow.”

When we adopted our first two puppies, we were watching a lot of mystery programs on PBS. An early choice for a puppy we missed out on adopting was “Campion.” When we decided to take two litter mates, it didn’t take us long to arrive at “Agatha” and “Christie.”

What image comes to mind when you near the name, “Agatha?” Well, “Agatha” was all that: matronly, a little bossy, tweedy. And what does “Christie” make you think–a blonde cheerleader, fun loving? Oh yeah, that was “Christie.”

Flaps down. Landing gear in place. Shadow's coming in for a landing.

Does your choice of pet name affect your dog? I think so. We have associations that become expectations. Dogs are so sensitive to our moods and actions so their behavior starts to reflect what we expect of them.

Have you ever known a really sweet Dachshund named “Killer?” Or a vicious Great Pyrenees named “Sweetie?”

So be careful when you pick your dog’s name. You may get what you name.

It worked for me. After all, what would you expect “Honey” to be if not sweet?

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