Naming your pet can be a challenge. Growing up, I only had goldfish (Donald and Mickey) and one frog named Valentino (I got him on Valentine’s Day), so I haven’t had a lot of pet-naming experience. Curious to discover how animal companions receive their names, I reached out to some friends who have pets to get the backstory.
Lady, Havanese “When we got Lady last April, she had no name for a whole week. We didn’t know what to call her. As we got to know our puppy, we realized she was full of energy and was loveably crazy. So one day my sister said to her, “You’re a pretty lady.” The name instantly stuck and we’ve been calling her Lady ever since. Though funny enough, she is the total opposite of a ‘lady’.” — Agostino Leone
Apollo, shih tzu purebred “We got Apollo when my dad had a stroke five years ago—we were looking for something to make the mood less somber. We saw a few dogs we liked, but they didn’t really fit us until we came across Apollo. Back then his name was Jake and he was he runt of the litter. I wanted to rename him Won Ton or Baby because I thought they were cute names. But my family wanted more of a robust name. As we’re a Greek and Portuguese family, the name Apollo came up and it was settled right then and there. Apollo is lazy in the morning and enjoys giving kisses. He’s a bit of a prince in a sense that he likes pampering.” — Christina Medeiros
Ron, cockatiel “His previous owner’s name was Tyrone, so I took the Ron part out of Tyrone and called him that. He responds every time I say Ron. The only thing is, he’s very wild. He doesn’t like it if anyone touches him, but he loves attention. He even sings to get someone to notice him. He’s a crazy bird, but I love him.” — Chalani Kumarasamy
Princess Bacon Boulevard, cat “For a short period of time I had dreamed of getting a pig, and I wanted to name it Bacon. Weeks later, I was left with no pig, but rather a little orange cat to take care of. I called her Bacon right off the bat. She earned the title princess because she is obsessed with herself and I always catch her sitting in front of the mirror enjoying the view. And Boulevard just seemed like a nice way to round it off.” — Jamie Anderson J
ean-Luc Picard, Rottweiler-retriever mix “When we moved into our new house, my dad picked up a puppy and named him after his favourite Star Trek character, Captain Jean-Luc Picard. He had black and white markings like a Rottweiler, and a long coat like a retriever. Jean-Luc used to greet my dad, and only my dad, by showing his teeth like he was smiling, and wagging his tail a lot. I wish I had this one picture: Jean-Luc had jumped up on my dad's chest for a hug, and my dad put his arms around him. He looked like a boy, so happy to see his best friend.” — Ray Fox
Tranchy, Costa Rican zebra tarantula “When I was younger, my dad and I would drop into the local pet store while we were running errands. One day, when I was nine, I saw the coolest looking thing I had ever seen in my life: A HUGE FREAKING SPIDER!! After a quick pleading with my dad, we had the tarantula in a little box and continued on our errands. I started thinking up a name for my new pet. Stripes seemed like a good name. Lightning was too weird, even though she could catch the odd feeder bug faster than you could blink. After a while I decided on the best, most descriptive name: Tranchy. After 15 years, she's still in the same terrarium.” — Eric Dudley
Pizza, cat “When my neighbour’s cat had kittens and I decided to take one, I immediately thought of names. Pizza was on the list. I consulted with friends and family and most seemed to agree that it worked. Why? Well I love pizza and people love pizza so I think it will be a universally accepted name. Although I may not know what Pizza looks like yet (he’s only a week old), I already love my kitten.” — Linda Cotrina
Red & Blue, Labrador retrievers “Red and Blue came from a litter of eight puppies. Our mother visited the owners before selecting the dogs. Because people had spoken for specific dogs, the owners had put pieces of ribbon around the necks to identify them. Ours had red and blue. So home they came, my mother went and got red and blue collars so we could identify them. We called one Red Dog and the other Blue Dog. We argued for a couple of weeks over what we should name them while we kept calling them Red Dog and Blue Dog. It got to the point where the pups started responding to the names, so our mother just decided that they should be named Red Dog and Blue Dog. So that’s what we did.” — Mark James
Onyx, cockapoo “Onyx came to us in July 2010. He was all black with two front grey paws. We thought about naming him Coal but with the grey, we thought Onyx—a shiny beautiful black stone with grey striations throughout. Through the years, Onyx has become more grey and white and full of character, so the name couldn’t be more appropriate. We get so many compliments on his name, his great personality and his wiggle bum!” — Sharon Timlin
While you’re all still in cute pet land, here’s a video of a puppy that just can’t turn himself around.