Monday, September 23, 2013

13 Things (besides obscenities) to Not Name Your Dog

Note: Oftentimes - when sitting down to write a blog post - I strive to be helpful. Other times, all I can manage to be is ridiculous. You can decide what kind of day today was. 

Jon Farleigh (emphasis on "far") has a nice ring to it, no? 

After repeating my dogs' (and cats', frankly) names for the 297th time the other day, it dawned on me how important it is (for anyone who speaks their pet's name on a regular basis) to carefully plan how that's going to play out (audibly, and psychologically - for both the human and dog) before making a moniker permanent. And so, naturally, my mind took off running to places that other minds...well, frankly, don't. Anyway, I hope you find the following fruits of my mental journey (down the road of dog-naming no-no's) useful.

A few things you might want to ask yourself during the dog name-selection process:

<> Can I say it without getting tongue-tied?
<> Can I say it (with a playful or melodic rise in tone) so my dog will actually want to answer to it? (Ex: Sparky v. Spunk)
<> Will I get arrested (or make the news, like this woman in Scotland) for shouting it in public?
<> Will hearing it make me or my dog need xanax?
<> Will it make me want to dry-heave?
<> Could it become a self-fulfilling prophesy?

13 Things (based on the above) That You Should NOT Name Your Dog

13. Here Kitty Kitty
12. I. P. Freely
11. Sonorous*
10. National Debt
9. Turnip
8. Beet
7. Liver
6. Shh
5. Mammogram
4. Colon {anything}
3. Help (No, really. This is what happens when you name your dog Help - or Yelp, which sounds like help.)
2. Fire
1. Stay

He's red, yes. But is he a "Beet"? Not so much..

As for the photo, I took it with my iPhone and edited it (mostly) on my PC, in PicMonkey, using texture. And on a personal note, if any of you ever wondered whether dogs have souls, the answer is yes. I know this because a piece of Jon Farleigh's is caught in this image. 

* After writing the title for this post - for fun - I googled it to see how many other similarly-titled articles already existed. I found a few (not a ton), but of note was one published at Psychology Today (dot) com. You can read it here. (Hint: It's seriously serious, even claiming that dogs don't like the "unrelenting pressure" of wearing things [for example, cheap holiday-themed accessories from Target] on their heads. [insert eye-roll] ) Yes, anyway, at the bottom of the author's (an academic) list of things to consider when naming a dog was, "...make it a sonorous word - sonorous to you."
Think about that for a moment. (OK, time's up.)

Sonorous. Sonorous?
This is obviously why I should stick to writing nonsense, because - first of all - WHAT THE HECK DOES SONOROUS MEAN? (was what I was thinking). Is it related to sound? Because it sounds like a weird combination of ominous and sonar? And thanks a lot, Psychology Today, I now feel like a complete imbecile! (end of thought rant)

Then I looked up the definition of "sonorous" at
Sonorous: (contextual meaning) rich and full in sound, as language or verse.

In other words, your dog's name should be pleasing to YOUR ear. Ironically, "sonorous" is one of the least pleasing words that my ear has ever heard; therefore, I have decided never to speak it out loud. So don't name your dog Sonorous, OK? ;)

Have you any experience with dog names gone terribly wrong?


  1. LOL - this was great. I have one more to add - don't name your dog Buster unless you never,ever plan on teaching him fetch. I remember my brother-in-law crying he was laughing so hard upon hear my mom yell "Get the ball, Buster!" (Remove a comma and a capital letter and you'll understand why he thought this was so funny coming from my ever-proper mother.)

    Thanks for the laugh.

    1. Or, how about, "Have a nut, Buster!"? (hehe) Your poor naive mama. :) BTW, I had a cat named Buster (kitty love of my life). My step-mother named him. But thankfully for her, fetch was not his thing!

  2. Zeus is problematic as well if one were to say "Hey Zeus" sounds Like Jesus to a hispanic speaking person....

    1. Yes, that would definitely be awkward if you were yelling it out within earshot of a person named Jesus. :) I call Jon Farleigh by just Jon in public a lot, and that gets me quite a few looks, too! (Not too many dogs named Jon/John in the world!)

  3. please tell me you heard about this story this weekend????

    1. Yes, of course I did, @Rob. OK, I lied. OH MY GOSH! That's *crazy*! And, doggone it, let it be a lesson to us all, right? It's just a bummer that my tips were a day (or two) late and a British pound short for that woman, huh? (Thanks for sharing! I added a couple links to the article in my post.) :)

  4. I put up a free to good home sign at work before I decided to keep my cat. Someone wrote "makes good taco meat." So to everyone she became known as Taco Meat. The vet office saw no humor in it. I renamed her Taki.

    1. Bwahahaha! Your vet must've been having a bad-ish day, because I might have named the kitty Taco Meat, too. (As for the person who wrote that on the sign, though, I'd call them something a lot more colorful. :/)

  5. While I adore everything about the name (I made up) Brychwyn, I have yet to run into another person on the planet who can pronounce or say it correctly... though I don't run into many Welsh.

    1. OK, I admit I've had to look at the phonetic spelling of his name (that you've got on your blog), you know, just in case I run into you somewhere. :) My instinct was to make the first "y" sound just like the second one. Like Gwyneth. But making it hard adds so much depth to it. I can just hear it rolling off the tongue of a Welshman. :) Such a beautiful name! Dewi is Welsh, too, but is actually a nickname for Dewydd (David). Yeah, Dewydd is just not a good dog name. :)

  6. I'm pretty sure Sonorous is also a spell in Harry Potter...I'm not a fan or anything ;)

    1. Ah, my dear, you are so right (and I had to look it up)! Except Rowling spelled it "Sonorus." It's supposed to magnify a person's voice. Interesting. :) Also interesting is that it's filed directly above the Stupefy spell. (Thanks so much for being such a huge HP fan!)

  7. Gosh naming pets is a tricky one. Pip is after Great Expectations and me Molly after Moll Flanders. Books are pretty easy. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  8. BOL thank goodness we don't have nutty names, BOL
    Benny & Lily

  9. Too, too funny!! This is silly but sweet: My favorite dog name ever was when I babysat for two little boys 100 years ago. They wanted a turtle. They got a dog. They named her Turtle.

  10. Very funny list. Also, add in Sit. Can you imagine calling your dog Sit all day and wonder why they don't want to move?

  11. A PhD simply means that the person who has earned it has also lost all common sense. Goobers.

  12. Sometimes you get close and then you get corrected. Alice (the new kitten) was just Alice until she decided I had to add 'from the palace'. I love your blog and your wit. - Jobi and Alice from the Palace
    P.S. the smartest people in the world are the wittiest.You are very smart.

  13. Just had to say how darn funny I found this post...


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