Fido, Max, Chancho McLovin. We give our dogs all types of names. Some funny, some cute, some pretty ordinary—owners get to choose the names for their pets. We name our pets after all kinds of things—childhood pets, book characters, your favorite wine, or maybe the just the goofiest thing you can come up with. Some names are chosen to resemble a dog’s personality. Either way, dogs grow into their names and the things we call them become near and dear to our hearts.
So your dog has a name and probably a pretty cute tag with it engraved on it, but we still give them other names. Nicknames. You know the ones—“Baby”, “Angel”, “Buddy”. Those are some pretty common ones. But let’s get real here—let’s talk about what we really call our dogs.
Here’s Jinks, one of the office pets here at Premier. He has several nicknames, all dependent on his personality, what mood he’s in, and where he is at the time. Mr. Jinks is the moniker used in his professional life. The veterinarian, the daycare team, and sometimes his Mommy call him this when he’s engaged in his full-time career- being sneaky. Jinks Fa-Fa is the super snuggly and sweet side of Jinks. Lastly, Jinks is affectionately labeled Butter when he’s as suave as can be, as he charms you into giving him a nice long belly rub.
Sadie has a bunch of names as well. Some of the names are just extensions of her real name and have been selectively chosen by some of her Mommy’s friends, including Sadie Bear and Sadie Sue. But Sadie’s Mommy knows the real deal—she is affectionately named Stinker-butt, for no real reason as her butt doesn’t actually stink. Sadie also transforms into Wiggle-worm when she gets so excited that she can barely keep her whole body from wiggling.
Then there’s Artemis- Goddess of the Hunt. She is lovingly labeled Baby-Girl due to her sweet disposition. She is also known as Moose because she was the biggest in her litter. Miss Priss makes a showing when she won’t let her feet touch the wet grass, and a favorite aunt and dog sitter calls her Artichoke. Lastly, she’s labeled Super Twisty Dog, and you can see why.
So why do we do it? When many of them won’t even come when called to their official name, why do we add other names to the mix? We speculate that they’re Terms of Endearment. Much like we call our spouses “honey” or “snookums”, we give our pets names that endear them to us. We highlight some of their best attributes and characteristics with some of these names, and at the same time, we’re able to make light of some of their flaws by giving them a silly nickname (Think “Hoover” for the dog that won’t stop eating everything).
It’s also something special between you and your dog. Sadie’s Mommy doesn’t proudly introduce Sadie as “Oh, this is Stinker-butt” to a cashier at her local pet store. But when she comes in the house, she shouts “Stinker-butt!” as they both roll around on the floor together in excitement of seeing each other. It builds a bond between the two of you—it’s a name that probably only you two understand.
Some of the nicknames are linked to memories of a certain time or moment in your life. For example, the nickname Moose referred to the time when Artemis was the biggest in her litter. It’s not as applicable anymore, but the name reminds her Mommy of the day she picked Artemis to take home. Her Mommy gets to let out a chuckle when Moose swings her tail around and knocks a glass off of the coffee table—after all, she did choose the biggest of the litter.
Regardless of what you call your pet, we all have fun, silly, and meaningful names and nicknames for our pets. It’s something we are so fortunate we have the opportunity to do. And of course, it’s
relieving to know that we can name our pets without worry that they’ll need to apply for a job or get a driver’s license with that name—and that, my friends, is permission to get as goofy as we can.
Tell us your pet’s nickname stories!