By: Meg Pierson
I have an actor friend with tremendous talent and a love of literature. One day while we were walking together after a Shakespeare in the Park performance, she revealed a long-time dream of hers. She does not currently own a dog but one day she wants to have a basset hound and name it August.
I’m not doing the name justice here: she pronounces it “Au-GOOS-t,” with the “t” just barely included. She went on to describe the birth/adoption announcements she would send out, to let her friends know that the day had arrived: her long-awaited basset hound was finally snuggled beside her.
Can we all pause and agree that basset hounds are adorable [see beach basset above]? I’m not expressing too much breed bias but there is nothing more endearing to me than a floppy-eared, baleful little basset hound staring up at you, wondering if you’re going to share that piece of cheese you’re eating (the answer is always YES, but only a portion). But when you add the name “August” to it, the dog becomes charmingly dignified. Suddenly, he’s a German ambassador and everything he does, from tripping over his own ears to enjoying yet another classic hound nap in the sun, becomes stately. It’s glorious.
In my world, names are one of the best parts about getting anything. I’ve named every one of my cars and even got to name my family’s wheaten terrier when I was 13 (I chose Duncan after the good king in Macbeth; I was a pretentious little tyke).
Doggyloot.com just revealed the top ten names for dogs in 2014. Please allow me to break down the top three of both genders.
1. Max (boy) and Bella (girl)
Both these names require the dog to live up to pretty high standards, and pave the way for unparalleled sibling rivalry. The British English Dictionary defines “max” as: “The most significant, highest, furthest, or greatest thing.” If you have more than one dog, I’d suggest naming your tallest dog Max, so the name can be in reference to his height, not his character. Unless you name your other dog Awesome, so they can be equals.
Bella is a wonderful name for a dog who isn’t actually beautiful. Let’s give that adorably funky shelter dog you just rescued a chance to be what it has never been considered before! Many attribute the rise in this name to the popularity of the Twilight book series but I have faith; I think it’s because we’re all just really big fans of Bela Fleck, not a book series about shimmering, moody teens who like to suck blood (c’mon, what teenager DOESN’T?).
2. Buddy (boy) and Molly (girl)
OK, real talk – I only call a person “buddy” when I’m getting annoyed with someone or I’m trying to make sure a guy knows he’s in the friend zone. In my world, this name has one purpose: to passively show the recipient you’re done playing and in about five minutes they can expect a cold shoulder that would rival a house cat’s ritual of ignoring people.
You could name both of these Jack Russells Molly – but I guess that’s confusing.
I’ve never met a Molly that I disliked. And if you’re in your late twenties like I am, you’ll probably remember Molly the American Girl doll. She’s a patriotic firecracker from the Second World War era and her glasses are awesome. Who doesn’t want a Jack Russell named after a resourceful tweenager who loves her country?
3. Rocky (boy) and Lucy (girl)
I’ve never seen the movie Rocky, but I can tell you that the only reason I’d name my dog after it is to be “that girl.” You know, the one that cooks a great steak, flipping LOVES football (PACKERS!!!), AND can do a great cartwheel. Currently, only one of these statements about me is true. I’ll let you decide which one.
Everyone wants a song they can sing to their dog. My family has a dog named “Blueberry” and I can’t tell you how many renditions I’ve sung of “Blueberry Hill.” So why not name your dog after “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by The Beatles?
You can and should see the whole list of names – maybe your pet’s name is on there! I love to see how people pick names for their pets. Whether you come up with a moniker before meeting the dog or wait to be inspired, your pooch has a story and a character all his own. And every time I meet a new dog, it’s fun to see how the name helps define their character.
Meg began her stage career in 2004 with Clemson University’s improv comedy group. During her time at Clemson, she trained in Atlanta, Chicago, and Chapel Hill and performed across the Southeast. Meg has performed with the Upstate Shakespeare Festival, Greenville Little Theater, and two regional improv companies. Currently she works as an actor, production assistant, and comedic writer for Cone of Shame. She has appeared in and provided voice over work for a number of videos for IDEXX, Vetstreet, and DVM360. Meg performs regularly as a founding member with Alchemy Comedy in Greenville, South Carolina, and teaches improv courses.