Our Dogs' Names
Billie . . . named for singer Billie Holiday (April 7, 1915 - July 17, 1959)
Billy . . .
Blitz . . .
Brae . . . from Scottish, as in Orkney's Skara Brae.
Briar . . . a variation of the pre-Norman English word "brier" (Middle English brere, from Old English brEr), referring to a plant with a woody and thorny or prickly stem. Teresa thinks of him as Briar Rose, or Braer Fox, from Aesop's tales. It has something to do with his luscious red coat! And maybe the fact that he seems to be on speaking (barking) terms with racoons, ducks, badgers, foxes, etc.
Bungee . . . from "bungee cord" (origin unknown, but first used in the English language in 1948).
Catcher . . . from Evan's 'main' product (now called Spell Catcher 8), which began life in 1985 with the name 'Thunder!'.
Ceilidh . . . from the Gaelic for "gossiping" or "visiting".
Digger . . . from a British colloquialism for Australians originating at the Battle of Gallipoli in World War I. The Australians were told to "dig in" at Anzac Cove -- hence they came to be known as "diggers".
Disney . . . named after Walt Disney (b. December 5, 1901, in Chicago, Illinois; d. December 15, 1966), famed producer of animated and live-action films. Disney grew up on a farm near Marceline, Missouri, a small mid-western town whose commercial district inspired the creation of Main Street USA at Disneyland, which opened to the public in 1955. Walt Disney Studios, built in 1940, is located in Burbank, California.
Dodger . . . named after the Artful Dodger (a.k.a. Jack Dawkins) in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist (1838). Dodger is, indeed, the personification of Dickens' character -- mischievous, tricky, bold but fearful, agile, a real character.
. . . from the fact that she, among all the puppies in her litter, most
resembled her mother. (In Ovid's Metamorphoses, 3.339-510, in
contrast, Echo is a male, the offspring of Narcissus.)
According to Chad: "Marie has people choose a song title to represent the puppy as a theme for the litters that came from Megan. I had a few chosen but did not know which one to pick until I knew which puppy I was going to get. There was a puppy that I was particular to but Marie places the puppies. When Echo was born, it was said that she looked just like her mom. Of course at that time her ears were still down. Her puppy name was Flirt and to this day she still represents her puppy name. On my birthday, Flirt was presented to me as my puppy, much to my surprise! I called her Echo because of how much she looked like her mom.
"In the 80s there was a group called Echo and the Bunnymen (they still exist and are in Toronto currently). The song I liked was “Sugar Kisses”. I thought it was a cute name when you put it all together: Lukan's Sugar Kisses, it also tied in with her puppy name. I found out later that the actual song title was Lips Like Sugar. Anyways, the group and the song represented my musical tastes of the time.
"Now, she also lives up to her name as Ech,o and you will notice that if you ever hear me run her in agility -- you will often hear me say something to her more than once, especially when I call her name."
Frankie . . . short for Frankenstein. According to Carole, it's because Frankie "was so homely and has tufts of hair sticking out of the sides of her neck like Boris Karloff's bolts".
Galla . . . from the Gaelic galla, "a wee bit of fluff" or "female dog". Note also St. Galla, a Roman widow of the sixth century. According to St. Gregory the Great (Dial. IV, ch. xiii), she was the daughter of the younger Symmachus, a learned and virtuous patrician of Rome, whom Theodoric had unjustly condemned to death. She founded a convent and hospital near St. Peter s. The letter of St. Fulgentius of Ruspe, De statu viduarum, is supposed to have been addressed to her.
. . . In Patricia's own words, "Georgie is a self-assured dog, a
little on the bossy side -- at least with Kate. We did not want a cute
name, and somehow Georgie came to mind and seemed to fit, hence Capecod's
Ivy . . . from the Old English Ifig (related to Old High German ebah). Viki reports that Ivy chose her own name. Once she brought her home, Viki tried out different names until, at last, Ivy responded to the name she thereafter went by.
Joey . . .
. . . from her full name, Hannalora's Kiss Me
Kate. As Patricia puts
it, "She is a boxer and therefore likes to jump up and lick my face. . .
self-expnanatory (I think)".
Keita . . . origin vague, but apparently from aboriginal sources and widely used in African culture (e.g., Salif Keita, Sundiata Keita, and Mamady Keita). Stevie Wonder named one of his children "Keita". A variant spelling, "Kheita," can also be widely found.
Luke . . . According to Laura, Luke picked out his name. She had a number of names that she and Ian liked, and decided to see what name he liked. "I called all of the names out to him, and 'Luke' is the name that he seemed to respond to the most. When I thought of the name, I was thinking 'Luke' from Star Wars. . . . I thought this fast, smart white puppy would make a great Jedi. He also liked the name Buck, but since I knew I would be calling his name out in flyball, I thought that it would sound like I was yelling something else!"
Lucy . . . In owner Laurie Paquin's words: "When I adopted Lucy she was, like 90% of all female dogs in animal shelters, named Maggie. Of course this name meant little to her, so I decided to change it to something feminine with an edge. She almost became Hazel -- everyone grimaced -- so she became Lucy. During her especially destructive phase, we decided that Lucy was indeed short for Lucifer -- or perhaps Luci-fur. I still think it suits her tenacious personality and it is easily yelled across the park -- repeatedly."
Matty . . . named after Waltzing Matilda, Carole's favorite song.
Merle . . . named after Merle Haggard (b. April 6, 1937, in Bakersfield, California). Haggard, one of the leading figures of the Bakersfield country scene in the 1960s, draws from all forms of traditional American music -- country, jazz, blues, and folk -- yet the strongest influences on his work remain other country performers, particularly Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell, and Hank Williams. His style incorporates Traditional Country, Bakersfield Sound, and Western Swing Revival.
Myst . . . from the popular computer game, Myst; a.k.a. Mysty.
Orien . . . a.k.a. Ryan, from the Irish for "red"; a variant spelling of Orion, the giant hunter in Greek mythology (Homer, Odyssey, 11.572-75), immortalized as a constellation.
Phoebe . . .
. . . from a variant medieval spelling of "piper" (Chaucer, House
of Fame, 1233-34: "Ther saugh I famous, olde and yonge,/Pypers of the
Duche tonge," ca. 1384),
Rhetta . . . from country singer, Loretta Lynn.
Ricki . . . named after Ricki Lee Jones; cf. Ricky, a diminutive of the Norman name, Richard, "stern ruler".
. . . named after no one in particular. As Victoria relates,
"It's a corny name but it suited her so well and still does. It
captures her cheerful personality and pretty looks. There's a bit of a story
here though. The theme of her litter was 'potatoes' (because her sire Mateo
is nicknamed "Potato").* I couldn't think of a neat sounding word
connoting potato for her show name (her blue merle brother, for example, is
called 'Russian Blue El Fresco' -- Russian Blue being a variety of potato), so I
decided to go for another language. Spanish seemed the obvious choice because
she comes from California bloodlines, so many of her ancestors, including her
sire, have Spanish names. The Spanish word for potato is 'papa,' so I
named her 'Rosalita La Papa Picante' (Rosie the Hot Potato).
Unfortunately, her breeder, Lisa
Wright, wrote down 'pata' instead of 'papa'. It turns out that 'pata'
is Spanish for 'paw,' so it was a sort of fortuitous mistake - Rosalita the Hot
Paw" (Editor's note: Sp. pata < L. pes, pod-,
"foot"; cf. Gk. poux, pod,
and Sanskrit pad).
Ry . . . named after musician Ry Cooder (b. March 15, 1947, in Los Angeles, California), whose work typically weaves together country music, the blues, Tin Pan Alley pop, and rock'n'roll sass. Best known for his slide-guitar solos on the soundtrack of Paris, Texas (Wenders, 1984), Cooder has done most of his work with companions he's met underground. He has been widening his scope since the 1960s, when he collaborated with the Rolling Stones, Captain Beefheart, and Randy Newman. In the 1970s, he worked with Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence, Tex-Mex accordionist Flaco Jiminez, and Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Gabby Pahinui. More recently, he composed the soundtrack to the film, Geronimo (Hill, 1993), using Tuvan throat singers from Siberia and a Navajo flutist, and recorded albums albums with the Indian classical musician V.M. Bhatt, with the Malian blues guitarist Ali Farka Toure, and with Shoukichi Kina, a folk-rock musician from the Japanese island prefecture of Okinawa.
Sailor . . . from his appearance. According to Carole, "The origin of the name isn't as interesting as the reaction to hollering 'Sailor!' at my sailing club. . . . I insisted on naming Sailor as a puppy at the breeder's, and that particular litter was the S litter . . . so quick, so fast, sailors wear white and pirates have an eye-patch . . . so Sailor he was and is".
Shaquille . . . from the Arabic for "handsome".
Shaunessey . . . from Irish, meaning unknown; variant spellings include Shannessy, Shaughnessy, O'Seachnasaigh, O'Shaughnessy, O'Shannessy, and d'Oshagnussi. The motto of the clan is Fortis et Stablis ("Strength and Stability"), which certainly describes Shaunessey's qualities as a flyball dog. Some notable personalities in the O'Shaughnessy genealogy are: Fiachra, son of Eochaidh, High King of Ireland in AD 358, who claimed descent from Heremon, son of Milesius; Daithi, the last pagan High King of Ireland, a figure at the European level; Guaire the Hospitable, King of Connacht in the 7th century; and St. Colman MacDuagh, founder and patron of Kilmacduagh, monastery and diocese.
Symon . . . In Teresa's words, "well, 'Simple Symon met a pie man going to the fair' describes how Symon found his way into our life. I'm not sure he was really on his way to the fair when he met a 'pie man' who brought him in to the OSPCA but he certainly landed at the fair when he arrived here!"
Teak . . . from "teak" (tectona grandis), a type of wood indigenous to India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos.
Teegan . . .
Tess . . . from Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Ubervilles (1891) and, coincidentally, a diminuative of the name "Teresa" (or "Theresa"), from Therasia, an island off Greece, making her the only dog on the team ostensibly named after her owner. Teresa adds, "Tess's name was a lack of imagination on my part - the breeders were calling her Mont Serrat (since she has an all-black face) but I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to make that short and something I liked (Monty - NOT, Serra - Yuck). Tess just popped out of my mouth when I picked her up and since she immediately came up to me upon hearing it, the name stuck".
. . . from the 12th century English word "thunder" (Middle English thoner,
from Old English thunor; cognates include Old High German thonar,
Latin tonare, Sanskrit tan, and -- in accordance with the
principles of Grimm's
Law -- Dutch donder and German donner; cf. Old Norse ThOrr,
the god of thunder, from which the word "Thursday," from Old English thunres-dæg,
According to Giovanni Battista Vico (1668-1744), author of Scizenza Nuova,
a crash of thunder started civilization -- hence the prevalence of references to
Thor and other Indo-European thunder-gods in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake (1939).
Evan provides this explanation of how this complex word came to be used as a name for his Jack Russell Terrier: "He was named after my 'main' product (now called Spell Catcher 8), which began life in 1985 with the name 'Thunder!'. Subsequent versions were named "Thunder II," "Thunder 7", and then, finally, "Spell Catcher". We originally named the product 'Thunder' because the product it competed against (at the time) was called 'Lightning' on the PC and 'MacLightning' on the Mac. I didn't even think to name him that -- a friend of mine suggested it. It was so obvious a suggestion (and appropriate, for a JRT) that he had his name before I picked him up from the breeder. Ironically (but not that unusual, I guess) he's terrified of his own name -- the weather phenomenon, that is. He's quite sure the world is going to end. Whenever there is a thunderstorm he just sits in the bathtub and shakes".
Wanda . . . named after the fish in the movie, A Fish Called Wanda (Crichton, 1988, with Michael Palin). According to Victoria, "She has since acquired the nickname, 'Wanda the Wonderdog,' because, even as Border Collies go, she's pretty damned smart. She was my first dog, and when I started training her I didn't know what the hell I was doing, and she still managed to figure things out well enough to win HITs in obedience. I didn't have any training equipment, or access to obedience schools (I lived in downtown Toronto and didn't have a car), so she learned the retrieve over the high jump using a guard rail at the park. A few pieces of styrofoam packing material served as my broad jump. When I entered her in her first open trial, she had barely seen real obedience equipment, yet was not in confused in the least. At the time, I saw nothing remarkable in this. Like many beginning trainers, I mistakenly assumed that Wanda's success was due to my own talents as a trainer. It wasn't until I got my second dog that I realized I didn't have a clue how to train a dog". Ultimately, "Wanda" is a Slavic name of unknown origin.
Whisper . . . partly named after his illustrious ancestor, Whisp, the first Border Collie to win the international herding championship twice. He also liked to be whispered to when he was a puppy, and on top of that has a very soft, sweet personality.
. . .
* The name "Mateo" is Spanish for Matthew, as in Arroyo de San Matheo (literally,
"St. Matthew's stream"), now known as San Mateo, California.
For more information on Names, click here.