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Tag: naming

Naming your dog after an Olympic athlete


The Olympics provide us regular folks with a lot of inspiration — whether it’s to chase a big dream, get off the couch and start exercising a little bit, or simply come up with a name for a new dog.

Meet Leah Smith, a pit bull mix at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society who has been named after the gold medal-winning swimmer from Mount Lebanon, Pa.

Leah Smith, the human, returned home this week with a gold medal for the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay and a bronze medal for the 400-meter freestyle.

And one of the first things she did was meet Leah Smith, the dog.

leahsmithThe humane society posted these photos of the meeting — during which the dog got to try on the Olympian’s medals — on its Facebook page

KDKA in Pittsburgh reports that the one-year-old pit bull came to the humane society as a stray.

Given how often they have to name dogs, it’s not surprising that an animal shelter would turn to athletes, historical figures, or names in the headlines, for some fresh and innovative monikers.

I haven’t fully researched it — because I’m on the couch, watching the Olympics — but I’m sure that over the years plenty of dogs have been named after Olympic athletes.

There are bound to have been both canines and felines who went through life named Carl Lewis, Peggy Fleming, Greg Lougainis, Mary Lou Retton and Nadia Comaneci. There is bound to have been a spitz or two named Mark.

This year, the possibilities are pretty endless — given all the U.S. winners, and all those who captured our hearts without winning.

(On the other hand, you might want to hold off a few days on naming your dog Ryan Lochte.)

Still, there are plenty of good names available. It’s just a matter of picking the appropriate one.

Michael Phelps, or Katie Ledecky (or, if you prefer, Lickedy) would work for a water-loving dog, like a retriever or Newfoundland. Simone Biles would be a fitting name for a Jack Russell terrier or other acrobatic breed.

While it’s a lot of syllables, Dalilah Muhammad (gold medal winner for the 400 meter hurdles) might make a good name for an ultra-agile border collie; and what greyhound or whippet wouldn’t appreciate being called Usain Bolt?

Personally, my idols have more often come from the world of journalism — even though journalists, according to Donald Trump, are “the lowest form of life.”

I’m thinking of naming my next dog Morley, after Morley Safer. That would allow me to write a book called “Morley and Me.” I also have a name picked out for his sister: Leslie.

As for Leah, the pit bull mix, she goes up for adoption tomorrow.

(Photos: Western Pennsylvania Humane Society)

Most popular, strangest pet names

It’s time again for the most popular — and most unusual — pet names, as determined by Petfinder and its adoptions list of 145,242 dogs and 140,269 cats

For the dogs, Buddy was the number one name, and Max was number two, for the second year in a row.

The rest of the top ten, in order were: Daisy, Jack, Lucy,  Molly, Charlie, Sadie, Jake and Lucky.

For cats, the top ten names were Lucy, Molly, Oreo, Kittens, Smokey, Princess, Shadow, Tigger, Angel and Missy.

Read more »

What’s in a name?

Naming a new dog is no simple task. One could go with the name of someone they admire (Stay, Phelps!), a place they once lived (Good boy, Wichita!), or perhaps a predominant trait: Here, Tinkler! Sit, Humpty!

Daniel Wallace, in an article for Garden and Gun magazine, suggests spending some time observing your new pooch. Unlike naming a child — often done before he or she is born — dogs generally have the advantage of being observed before they get their moniker.

Wallace’s basset hound, for example, was clearly a “Barney” — a name he suggests be avoided for humans.

“(People) given this name out of the womb … will without a doubt become sad. The name dictates the sadness to follow. Dogs benefit from being dogs in that we have a good idea of what they’ll look like and the general characteristics they possess before we give them their names,” he writes.

For his boxer, he chose “Mugsy.” 

“The name Mugsy works because a boxer looks like a boxer, and in that sense it’s easy to imagine what a dog like that might be named,” Wallace wrote. “One could even claim it’s clichéd, but I think the only person who would claim that is the kind of person who would begin a sentence with the words one could.

For his mixed breed, Wallace came up with “Rudy.”

“… His big red eyes were so needy, so pitiful, and when he looked at you, it was not love you saw but the last hopeless look of a man falling off a cliff. Maybe you’ll throw me a rope or something? Maybe? No? That’s fine. I didn’t expect you to. He whimpered. He whined. He shivered for no good reason. Women seemed to like Rudy, but it was really just pity.”

The best name is one that fits the dog’s personality, Wallace seems to think — though he admits that  personality will evolve as a dog matures.

“Dogs have been hanging out with people for over ten thousand years. They are empty vessels we fill with a reflection of ourselves; or, alternatively, they come ready-made with their own strong personalities, which, insane as they sometimes are, we accept, because they accept ours. Having a dog is possessing a life, and dogs are in fact like children, but better, because they don’t grow up to rob banks or hate you. They love you the same until they die.”

Speaking of names, I’m not sure who came up with Garden and Gun, which struck me as an unlikely combo. When it was first mentioned to me, I pictured folks planting a vegetable patch, then waiting around with shotguns for varmints to infiltrate it. Actually, it’s a far more civilized publication, headquartered in Charleston, S.C. (which is named after King Charles II of England).

(Photo couresty of cafepress.com)