Reader Friday: Naming Your Pets…Naming Your Characters

Has any writer or fictional character inspired you to give your pet the same name?


Have any of your pets inspired you to give a fictional character the same name?

Please tell us the story.

44 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Naming Your Pets…Naming Your Characters

    • Good morning, Marilynn. Thanks for telling us Molly’s story. I think Maggie would have been a great name. Maybe you need another golden retriever, so you can name her Maggie.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

    • I like those names, Laura. Harlie and Cisco. They are the kind of names that tell you something about the character or the pet before you meet them.

      Thanks for telling your story.

  1. Good morning, Steve.

    The short answer is…yes! I named a dear, still-missed beagle Dylan (after Thomas and Bob) and a much-beloved cat Harlan (after Ellison). I don’t know if this counts but one of my sons was almost named John (Lennon) – (Bob) Dylan. Alas, I was, um, overruled on that one.

    Thanks for the great questions. Have a great weekend!

    • Good morning, Joe. Great names. Did you ever tell Ellison that you named a cat after him? I would have loved to hear his answer. Too bad you were overruled on naming your son John Dylan. That’s a good solid name. I think I might have said (after being overruled), “Then I’m going to call him John Bob for his nickname.”

      Have a great day!

  2. Mornin’, Steve! Mayhem’s three pet crows (who live free) are Poe, Edgar, and Allan. In Restless Mayhem, Poe’s lady friend is Lenore. His biological parent’s names are Thoreau and Annabelle. So… yes. 😉

    • Wow, Sue, that’s a lot of great names. I knew we would hear about “The Poe” this morning. I like Thoreau and Annabelle. Great strategy. Thanks for describing the crow family tree.

      Have a great weekend!

  3. I had a beagle as a kid, Rebel, but have not used the name, as pets do not figure prominently in my fiction.

    The one exception is my boxing stories featuring Irish Jimmy Gallagher, set in 1950s Los Angeles. He has a bulldog named Steve, who bellows “Boof” from time to time. I named him that as a nod to the great pulpster Robert E. Howard, who had a series of boxing stories featuring “Sailor” Steve Costigan.

    • Thanks for the story, Jim. I like that – Steve the bulldog and Sailor Steve. Any character named Steve brightens my day.

      Thanks for the background on your stories.

  4. We named one horse Belle (for Beauty and the Beast), and the other horse Rey (from Star Wars). Our cat’s full name is Captain Pepper Jack Sparrow (for the character and the type of cheese), and our dog’s name is Emma (though not for the Jane Austen character, but she has that “get into other people’s business” kind of attitude). I put Belle into one of my fantasy books as one of the character’s horses.

    • Wow, Michelle, your family has a lot of interesting names. I like Captain Pepper Jack Sparrow. Belle is a great name for a horse. You have the record thus far for names that are associated with characters. People put a lot of thought into pet names. I still remember when our family had a discussion to come up with the name “Teddy” for a pug we had just adopted.

      Thanks for sharing your stories.

      • You’re welcome. When we first got the cat, he was very young and we thought he was a she, so we named “her” Pepper Potts. At least we found a way to keep the name Pepper for him. We’re really into movies around here. Not a day goes by that we aren’t using a quote from a movie for something.

  5. Drake is name of the protagonist of my thriller series. He always ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time but somehow does the right (selfless and heroic) thing.
    I mentioned the name as a possibility to my son and daughter-in-law when my first grandson arrived. They chose it.
    My character was not their inspiration but it’s a cool name for someone I love beyond measure.

    • Good morning, Tom. That’s quite an honor, that your son and daughter-in-law would name their son (your grandson), Drake. Someday you will be able to tell him about another Drake you want him to meet. And your grandson will enjoy reading stories about a hero with “his” name. That’s super cool.

      Thanks for stopping in this morning!

  6. When I was five I wanted to call my collie puppy Lassie but my big brother and sister said that was too ordinary so she ended up being Taffy instead.

    If I ever get another collie girl, I’m calling her Lassie.

    I think I’m going to start writing myself and my pets in my books and stories, as Hitchcock gave himself little cameos in his films. I’ll just be nameless background, but people who’ve known me and my pets through the years will know.

  7. Good morning, Cynthia. Interesting story about Taffy (almost Lassie).

    I live your idea about putting “Hitchcock cameos” in your books and stories. That’s a great way to leave a legacy for your family and friends.

    I hope you get a Collie girl and get to name her Lassie.

  8. Good morning, Steve. Wonderful Reader Friday question today. I’m enjoying all the responses. When I was a teen, we adopted a little white puppy, a Pekingese-Pomeranian mix that my siblings and I named Casper, after the friendly ghost of cartoon fame. The little guy was a dynamo, and lived to be sixteen or so.

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Dale. Your comment about Casper being a dynamo reminded me of the lively Boston Terrier (“Sparky”) that our family had when my younger brother was still little enough to get down on the floor in his Sunday church clothes and wrestle with the dog. I don’t think Sparky was named after any characters, but he was full of energy.

      Have a great weekend!

  9. I’ve never named a fictional character after a pet but named many a pet after a fictional character or famous person–though not from books that I can recall. I had a pair of bunnies named Starsky & Hutch. Another dog named Mindy (i.e. Mork & Mindy). And Bob Barker, my collie-shepherd mix that I still miss decades later.

    In my future are a pair of English Labrador Retrievers, one black, one yellow. The yellow lab will be Matt Dillon and the black Newly O’Brien.

    I don’t do cats, but they tend to be grouchy, so someone please name your cat Doc Adams. 😎

    • And staying on the Gunsmoke theme–my friend had a cat for years that I always referred to as Miss Kitty.

      • Thanks for sharing your stories, BK. I like those names and the stories behind them, especially Starsky and Hutch, and Bob Barker.

        If anyone asks me about naming a cat, I’ll refer them to you.

        Great names.

  10. My horse’s name was Dixie, but I didn’t name her. The farm where she was bred had that honor. Her full name was Missouri’s Dixie Pride. (Too much of a mouthful to say, “Whoa, Missouri’s Dixie Pride.”)

    The name of the border collie in my Watch series is Barkley. I can’t remember how I came up with that name, but it seemed to fit a young, inquisitive dog.

    • “Dixie” immediately reminded me of Dixie the head nurse in the TV show “Emergency!”

    • Good morning, Kay. Great name stories. When I was sixth and seventh grade, I worked on a small farm that had horses. One of them was named Dixie. She was spirited, but still a great horse for all the city kids that spent a week at the farm.

      I like the name you picked for your border collie. It seems that “bark” in the name is fairly popular (BK’s Bob Barker) for dog names.

      I hope your weekend is wonderful.

  11. Years ago, when The Lord of the Rings movie came out, we were shopping for a Doberman puppy. The breeder insisted that the registered names of all the puppies be something from the books. Tons of breeders were using common Lord of the Rings characters for their puppy names. We wanted something unique, so I trawled through Tolkien’s encyclopedia (published by his son after his death) and came up with Erinti, who was designated as the guardian of the stars. We called her Rin, unless she was being goofy, when she became Rinny Tinny Two, a word play on Rin Tin Tin, that famous TV German Shepherd.

    • Interesting that the breeder of the Dobermans insisted that the registered names of the puppies come from books. Erinti is a beautiful name. You did a lot of research if you made it through Tolkien’s encyclopedia.

      Thanks for your story, KS.

  12. When I was in elementary school, we adopted an orphaned stray kitten. B/c we were learning about the Mayflower in school, I named her “Priscilla” after Priscilla and John Alden.

    She had long hair but refused to be brushed and would develop thick mats like furry armor plates on her sides. Once a visiting friend petted her and exclaimed, “What a lumpy cat.” Thereafter, she became “Lumpy,” although not after the Leave It to Beaver TV series character.

    Periodically I’d cut off the fur mats with curved nail scissors. Why she refuse to be brushed yet allowed me to hold her while using sharp scissors close to her skin remains a mystery. She lived about 20 years.

    • Good morning, Debbie. Great story about Priscilla, the lumpy cat. That is interesting that she would let you cut her hair, but not brush her. Someone else probably pulled too hard (while brushing). But she trusted you, and you weren’t inflicting any pain.

      Maybe she’ll make it into one of your books, which reminds me that I should put some of the dogs from my youth into my stories for my grandchildren.

      Thanks for your story. Have a great weekend!

  13. I have a terrible time naming my pets, hence names like my Suzy Q. She went through several name changes from Sassy to Princess before I settled on Suzy Q, although I rarely use the Q. I did a little better with the stray cat that showed up. He was what I call a tuxedo cat with a black top coat and white below and a bow tie under his chin. I call him Tux.

    • Thanks for telling us about your pets, Patricia. I like that name Tux. Suzy could be called “Q” when she gets particularly creative at inventing trouble(Q in the James Bond movies) or making a mess.

      I hope Q stays out of trouble, and Tux remains a gentleman. And your weekend is a good one.

  14. Love this post, Steve, and all of the comments. Our pets get to us, right? I’ve not named any pets in my stories after anyone, but …

    My husband had a black lab when we met. We had her for at least a decade after we married.

    My husband named her Oreo, because when she smiled she looked just like an Oreo cookie. Oreo cookies are my favorite cookie, so what could I possibly do except marry him?


    • Great story, Deb. It sounds like a plot for a romance novel. Hero captures heroine’s heart with a dog’s smile.

      Joking aside, thanks for sharing your story. And I hope your weekend is full of smiles.

  15. My Jonathan Grave books occasionally feature a black Labrador retriever named JoeDog, in commemoration of the real JoeDog, the black Labrador retriever whose loss I still grieve after nearly 20 years. Little Kimber helps fill the void for sure, but there will always be a hole in my heart from JoeDog.

    • Thanks for sharing your story and JoeDog’s story. Labs can be some of the most loyal dogs that ever lived. Their love and affection can never be forgotten.

      Thanks, John, for your comments.

    • I sympathize. I lost my black lab about 16 years ago and still miss him every bit as much today.

    • So true, John. (and I love JoeDog as a character). When my husband became ill and limited in what he could do, I had the brilliant idea to get him a dog. And thus came into our lives the sweetest chocolate lab ever, brilliantly named (not by us) Decoy. She was a rescue dog, but I quickly learned I had that idea backwards. She knew immediately why she was here, to rescue us. And she did, in so many ways.

  16. Pingback: Reader Friday: Naming Your Pets…Naming Your Characters – Fix Yourself

  17. Does anybody know what this “Pingback . . . Fix Yourself” (above) is that I’ve seen here the last couple of days? If you click the link, it takes you to another website,

  18. My characters are more likely to name pets after characters. Randy in the Pine Hills books named his cats Starsky and Hutch, and Titch in my Mapleton series rescued two cats and called them Cagney and Lacey.
    Our rescue dog was name Phoebe, and we didn’t want to confuse her, so we just changed the spelling (she can’t read) to Feebie, which is short for FBI SAC Odell.
    My brother named his hamster Art Linkletter.
    Dogs in my books seem to have ordinary names. Chester, Reggie, Wolf.

    • Good morning, Terry. Sorry for my slow response.

      “My characters are more likely to name pets after characters.” I like that. I didn’t think about that when I asked the questions. But, great examples from your characters and your books.

      Art Linkletter, the hamster. Now, that’s a name.

      Thanks for sharing your stories, and have a great weekend.

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