On Being Pretentious, Attention-Grabbing Posers (Once Again)

This doesn’t look much like a trout, but I thought it was kind of appropriate (photographed at Swedes Feeds).

As today’s BigLittleMeals blog is being posted I should be somewhere on the Bighorn River in Montana fly fishing with our son, Travis. Hence, I thought it would be an opportune time to dust off and recycle one of my masterpieces from the Andy’s Corner archives.

I had a tough time deciding which of my previous posts would fit best with Ann’s blog. My first thought was to find something related to hot dogs in honor of the recipe Ann included. And what could be more appropriate than my piece about Ignatius Reilly and Lucky Dogs which includes some great New Orleans inspired recipes (hotdogs ironically excepted)?

The kind of cart Ignatius pushed around the French Quarter

But Ann’s blog is only incidentally about hot dogs; it is mostly about a real dog, actually a ten-week-old puppy that has just joined our family and has be saddled with what we consider to be a clever name – WynnSome.

Were we “pretentious, attention-grabbing posers”when we named our puppy WynnSome? (Photo was taken on her first day in Glen Ellen)

The naming of our household pets has long been an important family ritual, even if in some ways it is a ritual that says more about the namers than about the pets themselves. I wrote about this a couple of years ago and decided that it’s the ideal match for Ann’s blog.

In that post I made a list of all of our family pet names and the categories they fall into. The categories are from David Macaray’s short essay What Your Pet’s Name Says About You. Below is an updated version of that list which includes our new puppy’s name. Go to In the Beginning Was Raggedy to view the recycled post and to find out more about why we may be “pretentious, attention-grabbing posers (once again).”

Updated table from the original Andy’s Corner Post

Key to Davie Macaray’s Pet Name Categories:
Clever – draws attention to the namer (e.g., Ying and Yang),
Descriptive – points out characteristics of the pet (e.g., Fluffy, Spot),
Derivative – from well-known names of others (e.g., Lassie, Queenie)

I’m always curious to learn how others go about naming their pets. Feel free to share some of your favorite pet names in the comments section. I promise not to be (too) judgmental.

Janes 5 mile dog walk sign
A photo taken in Carmel by our friend Jane.


  1. Carolyn Hall says:

    Our cats’ names, in order of appearance: Mountolive and Mehitabel (guess what I was reading); Pfeiffer and Abner (father and son); Tigger (we shouldn’t have favorite “children,” but he was definitely our favorite) and Sydney; Angelina Popolina Fineberg (Jenny had naming rights on that one); Clara Bow; Chaz; and Paws (for the same reason Damnit became Hamlet . . . he was named Claws when we adopted him and we wanted something less ferocious but similar).


  2. Anonymous says:

    Love your puppy it’s cute as a button. We had two toy poodles that you may remember, Bouton,(that’s button in french) & Beau.
    get it. Button & Bow’s? Oh well, then we had a great dane named Horse because he was so big.. His name caused a problem when our vet sent some medicine to a vet’s office close to us & when I went in to pick it up they could not find it anywhere. They came to tell me they didn’t have any medicine for my horse. I had to explain that Horse was a dog. I got his medicine right away.


    • theRaggedys says:

      This is embarrassing. I vividly recall Bouton and Beau but had never realized the “buttons and bows” connection (1947 song which won an Academy Award – sung in the movie Paleface). I remember Horse too, but understood why you named him that.

      It’s pretty clear that the roots of clever naming run deep in our family. Thanks.


  3. Deb says:

    My very first dog as a child was a light brown and white spaniel we kids named “Twinkie”. As an adult we had a brother & sister cat duo named “Zephyr” (the more quiet gentle one) and “Mariah” ( the robust assertive one). And then of course there was “Plumas Maximus” our long haired Maine Coon cat with his magnificent tail! Great column Andy! And very sweet new addition to your family:)


  4. David Ewing says:

    When my 18-year-old little brother moved out of the family home he promptly adopted a dog–a Great Dane puppy, which he named “Damnit.” I suppose it amused him to call, “Here, Damnit!” Not surprisingly, within a year or two he decided to go on the road, seeking fortune and adventure. He gave the dog to our parents, who by then had several small grandchildren. Plainly, having a dog named Damnit would just not do. The whole extended family, neighbors and friends were engaged in the search for an appropriate name that would sound enough like Damnit that the dog would not realize his name had been changed. Days went by with no success. Finally my wife’s father, who I had until then thought to be a singularly unimaginative man, suggested the perfect name: Hamlet. For a Great Dane. My dad should have been proud of the literary cachet, but he didn’t give a damn about such things, I doubt he had any idea who Hamlet was, and I am certain he didn’t know he was a Dane. Still, Hamlet stuck, the best dog name ever.


  5. Lynne says:

    The Deserans have had so many opportunities (17) to name their pets! I’ve had 2. My 12 year old sister surprised our family with her school carnival winnings: a puppy of mixed origins who we named Raffles. My son’s lab had four white paws so was named Spats.


    • theRaggedys says:

      Raffles was a a clever name for sure. I wonder if in today’s world a school could get away with such a dastardly thing as enticing innocent and impressionable kids to spend their lunch money on raffle tickets for cute puppies.


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