Here’s the beauty behind naming a dog

Naming a pet is a big deal.

Maybe not as important as naming a newborn child, but with many families, it’s pretty darn close. My husband, Ed, and daughter, Jordan, wanted to adopt another rescued dog after our beloved Lucy passed. Reluctantly, I agreed — but only if the new dog’s name was my choice.

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There were two reasons. First, it’s a control issue. Second, naming the dog would make it feel more like mine. It would help to ease doubts about adopting another dog.

Before a name was needed, the dog was needed. Ed had been shamefully begging for a male dog to even out the overwhelming family male-female ratio. It had been 1 to 4: Ed on one side, and his wife, daughter, dog and cat on the other.

The breed? That was easy. A rescued Lab.

Now the name. Where to begin? There’s a lot of online advice from trainers, vets and the like about picking the right name for a pooch. suggests keeping it simple — two syllables, like Bella, Buddy and Rocky.

At Puppy Names Headquarters, dog names are listed alphabetically. “N” offered fun names like Nibbles, NASDAQ, Newt and Nashville. Did it matter if one hadn’t been to Nashville or wasn’t a huge country music fan? Probably, but it was a cool name.

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From online the search turned to the names family, friends and neighbors had chosen. They were a collection of cute, whimsical and traditional. There was Brutus, our neighbor’s 11-year-old beagle, proudly representing “The” Ohio State University proudly.

Our niece, Lauren, named her pug Hallie, after her favorite character in the “Parent Trap” movie.

My friend Melissa named her dog Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, a name her baseball-fan husband could not refuse.

My late father’s favorite childhood dog was named Teddy. The dog was loyal and smart. Teddy met Dad every day after school, and the two would walk home together.

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Teddy was also the nickname of one of my favorite presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, a progressive, take-no-prisoners kind of person.

This President Roosevelt was an outdoors man with tireless energy. Labs love the outdoors and are known for their boundless energy.

And, Teddy is a nickname of Edward, my dear, sweet, got-to-get-another-guy-in-this-household husband’s name. And, finally, Teddy was only two syllables — easy for a dog to grasp.

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So, with little convincing, Ed and Jordan agreed that “Teddy” would be the name of our newest household member. The name seemed to suit him. His shiny black coat and deep brown eyes were reminders of the handsome teddy bears that once graced the pages of FAO Schwartz toy catalogs.

But the satisfaction of knowing “Teddy” was the right name came when I looked over the documents from a previous foster mom. I did a double take when I read it.

Jordan laughed when she read it. “What’s so funny?” Ed asked, looking up from the floor where he was playing with “his boy.” Jordan handed her dad the documents.

Reading the last page, Ed’s eyes grew as big as saucers. “Eddie? The shelter named him Eddie?”

At first I couldn’t answer him. I was laughing too hard. “Yep. Looks like you’ve got your son.”

Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at

Most popular dog names


1. Ma

2. Charlie

3. Buddy

4. Cooper

5. Jack


1. Bella

2. Lucy

3. Daisy

4. Molly

5. Lola


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