Pet Names Survey

December 13, 2008 | My Jottings

My husband and I love dogs. We like the way they smile, the happy way they wag, the way they don’t expect much from their people but are willing to give their all anyway. Michael also loves birds. And strangely enough, birds seem to love Michael. He has a way with animals that our family teases him about, but it really is quite amazing to watch how creatures of all sorts just seem to sense that he’s someone they can trust.

Since Michael and I have been married, we’ve always given our creatures human names (no “Blackie”, “Snowball” or “Fluffy” for this family), preferably names of yesteryear. I’m not sure why, but I guess we just think the old-fashioned names add to their personalities. I would much prefer a poodle named Gladys over a Trixie. Or a black Lab named Griswold to one called Midnight.

I would like to know the names of the animals you’ve had in your lifetime (even if they were Trixie and Midnight!)  I always find it interesting what people choose to christen their pets, don’t you?

Here are the pets I’ve had, from very early childhood to present:

Medium-sized mutt (Shepherd and Retriever mix) – Dutchess – she was extremely overfed, had epilepsy, and chased and ate rocks.

Two finches – Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum – they sang one song over and over. And over.

Mynah bird – Ringo – he said, “Wanna cuppa coffee Joe?” and ate raw ground beef.

Cockapoo – Buffy– I was ten when we got her, and I adored this little buff-colored fluffball. I was devastated when a new home had to be found for her when my parents divorced, and we moved.

Miniature German Schnauzer – Prissy – I was in high school – this was my first exposure to the joys and quirks of Schnauzers.

Old English Sheepdog – Amy– she was such a clown – I owned her while living in a tiny trailer on the banks of the Yuba River, and had to find a home for her when I moved to Germany.

Black Labrador Retriever – Myrtle – after Michael and I got married, she was our first family pet. She lived to be 14 and was the finest dog ever. She learned how to slowly climb our back fence, paw over paw, and daily go and visit an older couple in the neighborhood who gave her treats.

Miniature German Schnauzer – Winnie – our second family pet, she also lived to be 14 and sold us on Schnauzers forever. We used to attach a dishtowel to her collar and she would dash around being “Super Dog!”

Cockatiel – Rosie – hand-fed and tame, she used to love it when we would mist her yellow feathers with water on hot summer days. She tried to delicately pick food out of people’s teeth.

Cockatiel – Chester – soon dubbed “Chester the Molester” because he was mean to Rosie – the morning we saw that he had bloodied Rosie’s wing during the night, a new home was found for him post haste.

Cockatiel – Walter – Rosie’s second husband – he loved to be held and petted but he was insecure and didn’t treat Rosie well – he was banished eventually too.

Canary – Harriet – the bird with the bad toupee, she came to our home timid and naked, to recover from being in another house with a dozen circling cats, where the stress caused her to lose all her feathers.

Miniature German Schnauzer – Edith (click for photo) – our current six-year old Schnauzer who is very smart, but not well-trained. She lives to watch television, and will sit quietly and pay attention to certain shows for up to thirty minutes.

Miniature German Schnauzer – Mildred – our current two-year old Schnauzer who is not very smart and also not well-trained. Millie has self-esteem issues and would prefer it if her owners would spend most of their time gazing into her eyes and crooning words of love and affirmation to her.

We also give our animals middle and last names, very deliberately chosen, and that is a story in itself that will be the subject of another post.

What pets have you owned, and what were/are their names?


  1. Jessica says:

    We haven’t had many pets in our family but my brother did have a wonderful black lab for awhile, named Ebony. I, sharing your love for human names on animals, did have a goldfish named Chuck. And the family I nannied for had a dog (can’t think of the name of the breed right now…) named Mike. I love that one.

    I’m slightly afraid of birds that people have as pets and think I would run away if one tried to pick food out of my teeth!! I did feel sorry for your Harriet though.

  2. Just Julie says:

    I love the goldfish named Chuck. It reminds me of a guy I heard about years ago with an old dog named Doug. And Harriet the canary was so pathetic when she arrived at our house, but she grew all her feathers back, plus the “bad toupee” that looked like a little spouting fountain on the top of her head.

  3. Carolyn says:

    Well there’s not much I can say besides what you already wrote, since most of my pets have been your pets as well. I am surprised that you didn’t post the animals’ FULL names. Winifred Bedilla Sprockett? Myrtle Mae Horowitz? (She was a messianic Jew.)
    I also had Maude Gunn, a mutt sired of Sadie, Jeremy’s old dog. I had to get rid of her when I moved and only owned her for a short while, but I am sure her new owners are better than I was.
    Currently there is Clementine Jackson Rosselini (aka Clem or Clementini Rosselini). She is the best dog ever. Well-behaved, quiet, protective, patient, obedient.
    Future dog names could include: Boo Radley, Mimsy (Mim for short) and Horton/Hortense.

  4. Carolyn says:

    I also wanted to say that if you ever wanted to get us a schnauzer puppy, that’d be great.

  5. Just Julie says:

    Would you call a dog named Boo Radley Boo, Radley or Boo Radley?

    Where does Mimsy come from? Very cute. And of course I love Horton and Hortense.

    I was planning to tell the story of the dogs’ and birds’ last names soon – I have to share about the book most of them came from too.

    If you had a schnauzer puppy, would you want a male or female? Would Boo/Mimsy/Horton be for him/her?

  6. Sharon says:

    OK, the whole reason we even HAD Schnauzers to begin with was because of ME, so let’s just back the train up with this “buy me a puppy” nonsense, Mrs. Mimsy.

    I have had a dog named Arthur, a beagle and lab mix who was very sweet and entirely too energetic.

    I have had a cat named Isabel. I lobbied to name her Barb, but my roommate refused. I married into three cats named Jake, Ginger, and Kia. Jake is in cat heaven, and the children believe he sleeps on clouds and chases mooples (those fake suede mice filled with catnip) all day.

  7. Just Julie says:

    I think you should share what Arthur’s middle and last names were, and how he would eat almost anything, including a large jar of Vaseline. 🙂

  8. Carolyn says:

    I liked Arthur, but he was trouble. I could tell it in his eyes. I also think a cat named “Barb” is hysterical. I enjoy names like that for pets as well. LIke “Keith” or “Patty”, etc.

    If we were to ever have a schnauzer pup, we would probably get a female and she would be a Mimsy/Mim (Jeremy says it’s in Lord of the Rings but I think it’s cute) or Hortense.

  9. Tauni says:

    I remember Ringo!!! Boy what a LOUD bird!!

    My pets as I grew up were always dogs and we had some canary birds too. When I was a baby and toddler, my parents had two cocker spaniels named Bell and Starr tho I do not remember them. From my memory we had a cocker named Duffy ~ mom could tell you where that came from; then we got a St. Bernard named Brandy ~ pretty common; then we (I) got another St. Bernard, yes we had two of the lovable beasts at the same time ~ all 500 lbs of them ~ his name was Sir Sebastian Booth. Then I married and we tried to have some dogs, unfortunately the situation did not work out well for us ~ we had Pete and Tara (Tara from Gone With The Wind fame), Mike used to call them Pete and RePete and the Pete just stuck. They were litter mates from Mike’s brother Mark’s dog and lab mixes. Then we adopted two older Golden Retrievers for a very short time, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins. We had a few guinie (sp?) pigs for the kids and then we got our one and only cat ~ Callie ~ short for Calico Cat! And finally, Roxy a lab mix we adopted just a year and a half ago.

  10. Sara says:

    Myrtle Mae was the best dog ever! I would go out to the garage where her chair was and confide in her when I was a little girl. She was so gentle and trusting. I have had a few goldfish (Bob, Bobbert, Mortimer “Morty” and Cornelius). I also shared a stray cat that my friend Eric adopted from the shelter. He wanted to name her “Peaches” but I convinced him to name her Ihrma. She was whack! She would paw underneath my bedroom door in the night, pee in plants, run from one end of the apartment to the other like a cheetah crashing into walls, and she would try to attack me whenever I ate Wurther Original candies (which was often). Sometimes I would hear Eric yell in the night (Ihrma would sleep with him) and he informed me that sometimes she would swat at his private parts in the middle of the night. LOL. I also had a parakeet named Merle Aloysius Gilbert Balmer, may he rest in peace. Now I have a stuffed bird that peeps when I press its belly, and I have some plastic horses.

  11. Savannah says:

    Clementine! I remember her! The last time Grandpa, Grandma, and I came up to Deluth Clementine was there! I remember playing with her in the backyard. If you made her sit on the porch facing the door (so she couldn’t see you), and got on apple from the thousands laying in the yard, spit on it and hide it, she would always find it! So smart! 🙂

    I have had soooooooooooooo many pets that I really, really can’t name them all. But here is what I can name.

    Charlie – named “Skull” by his first owners, and given to me as a christmas present. The only way I could ride him was bareback, and I hated riding him because he scraped me off his back on the metal horse corrals.

    Mama Kitty – the best cat in all the world. Had probably 1010 litters of kittens, all in my room, and one time in my bed on my neck.

    Sissy – another cat but she was horribly mean. She would lay underneath the coffee table (which I had to pass to leave my room) and attack my ankles and steal my blankie.

    Caleb – Mom’s wonderful old, old, old golden retriever. 🙁

    Feather – the best cockatiel in the WORLD! He liked when I wore yellow dresses, ate food out of my mouth (I’m dry heaving as I write that now), imitated my laugh so well that my parents could not tell the difference, and called the dogs.

    Carrot/Pumkin – these two names are to represent the countless orange kitties that we had while living on the ranch in California. Since there were many coyotes, we lost many of our kitties, and so we always named the orange ones pumkin, but more often carrot.

    Faith – the cat that I currently have now, who is 21 lbs, and hates men. I have had her for 5 years, and she is a snobbish queen. I love her to death. When I got her I wanted to name her rainbow (for the rainbow on her side) but Dad insited on Faith.

    Buttercrup – I named her buttercrup after my Granny… and yes the last “R” is correct. She is hateful, mean, evil, sneaky, and smart… and I love her to death! You can’t touch her, because she turns around and bites you, and in the mornings she likes to come and attack my legs (using back claws and teeth).

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