A Dog by Any Other Name…

One thing about rescued dogs is that they often come with names. In the last couple of years before Roxie died, I would occasionally brainstorm names for “the next dog.” I hated the thought of losing Roxie, but I knew it was coming (and expected it sooner than it happened). Thinking up dog names was, in a way, consolation. She couldn’t be replaced, but there would eventually be another dog I would come to love. That thought was better than the emptiness I knew would dominate the interim.


When we met Cora, she’d had her new name for only two weeks. We probably could have easily renamed her (Penelope, I’d thought when I met her). But who knows how many names poor Cora had already had. She was getting a new home, new people, a new brother. The least we could do was leave her with the name she was already recognizing as her own. So Cora it would be.


We don’t know how long Dusty has had his name. (TAGS people, do any of you know?) He didn’t seem to know it very well, although we now figure that was stubbornness rather than stupidity. He answers to it when it suits him to do so. When we first got Dusty, we tried calling him Barney. He really looks like a Barney. Every time I called him Barney, though, I laughed because of the image Barney painted in my head—which really does suit Dusty. But in the end, Dusty was the name we’d already gotten used to, so it’s what stuck. Wes occasionally calls him Dyson, though, since he’s so intent on picking up everything.

Hogan nee Gohan, our little Mexican

Hogan had been called Gohan in Mexico, and as far as we know, that’s the only name he had before. When they brought him to Canada, RTRC transposed the G and the H and renamed him Hogan. In the beginning, we occasionally called him Gohan (it’s got a certain ring to it), but he has always responded better to Hogan, so we think that’s the name he prefers.

So although I spent years coming up with girl and boy dog names, I have three dogs and didn’t end up naming any of them. And as it turns out, that’s perfectly okay.

(P.S. Pedigree is still trying to reach its goal of $150,000 to help rehome unwanted dogs. Click here, watch a one-minute video, and Pedigree will donate $1. Easy-peasy!)

10 Responses to A Dog by Any Other Name…

  • Louise says:

    Dusty had his name when he came to us. If his history is correct, that would have been his name since he was a pup. I would go with selective hearing!

  • Louise says:

    I’m sure I would have told you what I was told about Dusty. But just in case….

    I was told that he was brought to the pound with a litter of pups. He was the last one left and wasn’t adopted before his time was up.

    Don’t ask me how that would be possible! Can you imagine how absolutely adorable he would have been as a tiny little pup?!? Those big ears and paws on a tiny body!
    e spent the first 8 months or so in a pound before coming to TAGS and finding his new family!

    • Cathy says:

      Aw! Thanks so much for telling me, Louise! You’d told me that he was raised in a pound, but I didn’t know for sure if he was born there, and I didn’t know he was the last one left. He’d have been especially adorable as a pup! Not sure how he could’ve been left behind!

  • Nick (TAGS home visit volunteer) says:

    I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with Dusty because Louise was gracious enough to bring him into petsmart whitby often.

    One time while I had him on leash, I was speaking to a group of 4 people, and one of the guys in this group was not at all a dog person. He was sitting back, arms crossed, not joining in on the conversation. Dusty noticed this and picked up his bone and walked over to him and put it down infront of the man who wasn’t into dogs as if to say, we’re not all bad, take my bone! And then continued to do a little dance to try and win him over.

    I have never seen another dog behave this way. Looking at his past I would think that growing up in the pound maybe he had to read humans to get walked and fed or who knows what. I don’t know how you could not pay attention to him as a puppy, he would have been just adorable.

    • Cathy says:

      Aw, Nick, I love this story! Dusty is definitely the perfect dog to win over non-dog people (oddballs, those non-dog people!). I’ve thought, too, he’d make a great therapy dog once he gets a little older. He’s really such a sweetheart!

  • mom says:

    There’s no way you’d ever let Dusty leave you to “work” as a therapy dog…you’d be devastated to see him go to someone else. On top of being so cute and cuddly, he supplies you with a laugh on a daily basis and we all need that boost to our spirit if it’s available to us. So…no more talk about a job for Dusty, please!

    • Cathy says:

      He wouldn’t leave us. We’d go with him. I think he could brighten the day of lots of people (I’m thinking nursing homes or something like that). He’d really be good at it, and he’d be thrilled to meet so many new people!

      • Nick (TAGS home visit volunteer) says:

        My old family dog Casper was a St. Johns Ambulance therapy dog. After he passed I missed being around dogs and found myself going to friends’ homes to play with their dog rather than hang out with my friends. I started looking for a dog and came across adopting one from TAGS. I then realized my schedule is not conducive to a dog and I wouldn’t be able to provide a dog a proper home, so I volunteer instead. I like to think that I volunteer in Caspers honour cause we used to volunteer at a retirement home. He LOVED hanging out with old people, they were on the same ‘channel’ as I used to say. We got the idea to do it after he fell in love with my late Grandpa. They were two pea’s in a pod. After going to retirement homes we found out he doesn’t care who it is he just likes to be with old people. It is incredibly rewarding to bring smiles to people. I have no doubt Dusty could pass the ‘test’.

        • Cathy says:

          Nick, that’s such a heart-warming story about Casper. And it’s so good of you to volunteer for TAGS in Casper’s honour! I think in the next year or so I’ll look into how Dusty can help others because I agree that he’d be great at it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *