This is ‘Sam’, who said he definitely didn’t know who got into the kitchen garbage can. (Philip Wolf photo)

This is ‘Sam’, who said he definitely didn’t know who got into the kitchen garbage can. (Philip Wolf photo)

WOLF: What’s in a (dog’s) name? Naming pets an interesting exercise

Column: Smokey and the Bandit, Aiko, Sam, Dylan Thomas, Oreo, Misty and more

What’s in a name?

A new canine addition to our household is coming shortly, an occasion which brings up a spirited debate.

What should we name the new puppy? Who gets to choose the name?

Always good fun.

Over the years, pets have always been a staple in our house. And the name has always been an important part of the process.

Sometimes the name is pre-determined. Sometimes the choice is made after a lengthy debate. Sometimes you let the kids choose. Sometimes you change names, mid-course.

Could you list all of your pets in your lifetime? I’ll give it a whirl.

The first pet I remember was a gnarly old cat belonging to my grandparents. It’s actual name was Velvet, but my grandpa called it George. It was always in fights, was nasty to pet because of all the scabs from the kitty scraps, but it used to sit on the chair and watch us play crib, which is how I learned to count by twos as a toddler.

Our first actual pet was a stray calico cat named Dilly. Real name Dylan Thomas, after my mum’s favourite poet, but Dilly was more appropriate for a feisty female feline that lived near two decades and didn’t really like anyone.

We added Patches (white with patches of black) and those two lasted many years together.

Our first dog was a Samoyed named Cody, but I called it Cujo, because the poor thing had a brain issue that made it growl and lash out at everyone.

Then came Misty, my childhood favourite. Another Samoyed, full name something like Burr’s Arctic Mist (plus six other words I can’t remember).

Then another cat named KC (short for Kitty Cat; highly original naming skills) and my sister had a cat named Fatty, which only looked fat because of all of its fur.

The first cat I ever owned on my own was Smokey, a glorious grey beast who fancied himself the George Clooney of the cat world.

But, because my son’s mom and my sister insisted I had to get two cats or Smokey would be bored, we added Bandit (Smokey and the Bandit, get it? More originality), a unique white drifter who once disappeared for six months and was found in another city before returning home.

We added Tommy, a pudgy black kitty who ran up stairs like Pepé Le Pew. Our first dog, probably my favourite pet of all-time, was a Malamute-wolf cross named Aiko, which (I’m told) means beloved son or little loved one.

He was all of those things, except little.

We got him a brother, a 140-pound mushbag of an Anatolian Shepherd we named Sam.

After Aiko passed, we added a black lab dubbed Diesel, who I call Doyle to this day because that’s what the toddler called him because he couldn’t pronounce Diesel.

There’s also been a handful of other cats, some sadly departed, others still with us.

Taco (her colourings look like a mixed-up taco); Oreo (black and white); Junior (he looked just like Bandit; my son called him Jubs); Chevy (full name BMX Chevrolet Corvette Silverado; named by a four-year-old); one kitty with a nickname not fit for print; Wookie; and Link (something to do with the Zelda video game).

Plus a handful of hamsters and fish whose names I’ve erased from memory.

With all those names in mind, I look forward annually to checking out the list of dog names for communities I live in or adjacent two.

For PQB readers, here’s a few tidbits:

In Qualicum Beach (Parksville was unable to come up with their annual list), there are 632 registered pooches.

Abby was the most popular name, with nine (several spelling variations).

The were seven Baileys and Bellas. Nine Daisys and Sophies, six Maggies and a Maggie-May. Nine more Mollys and five Pennys. Six Gingers and three Gizmos.

Some of the most unique names?

A dachshund named Stevie Nicks.

There was a Rumpole and a Snickers and a Pepsi. A Mr. Jiggs, Mojito and Kipling. Halle Berry, Jeep, Gucci and Gandalf.

Biggie and Elvis and Drake forming quite the musical trio.

A Coltrane, an Axel, and Archie and a pair of Cookies. Two Sailors, three Scouts and a Shufkins.

And, most interesting of all this time (to me) five Charlies, the name of our new puppy.

Looking forward to hearing some of your best ‘pet name’ stories as well.

VI Free Daily/PQB News editor Philip Wolf can be reached via email at or on Twitter @philipwolf13.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

ParksvillePetsqualicum beach

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(PQB News file photo)
Qualicum Beach voters head back to the polls on May 15

Byelection will be held to replace former councillor (now MLA) Adam Walker

Ecko Aleck, recipient of $5,000 award for Indigenous entrepreneurs presented by Young Entrepreneurs Symposium. (photo courtesy of Adam Ziorio Photography)
Qualicum Beach woman one of 20 winners in nationwide challenge for Indigenous entrepreneurs

Ecko Aleck plans to create youth council with paid consultation

The Town of Qualicum Beach East Village Revitalization project has received a grant from the B.C. government. (Town of Qualicum Beach illustration )
Parksville Qualicum Beach projects receive more than $1M in provincial funds

Chamber of Commerce plans to establish micro-fullfilment centre to aid area businesses

(PQB News file photo)
Qualicum Beach offers to establish temporary cold-weather shelter

Move would provide aid to a maximum of 15 individuals

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read