Dogs in Literature and a New Family Pet

After years of half-hearted contemplation, months of a-bit-more-serious contemplation, and hours of rather-serious contemplation … I finally, in my usual fashion, threw all contemplation to the wind and said, “Let’s just go for it!” Two hours later my husband came home with this little bundle:


And our lives were turned up-side-down.

Okay, okay – so it was only yesterday that we got the puppy, and there hasn’t been much of a chance for up-side-down types of things to ensue … but let’s just say I can foresee that our lives will be turned up-side-down. Especially after a night of two-hour snatches of sleep due to the whining and scratching and occasional sad howl coming from the other side of the baby gate … and the little surprises he left in the corner for me today … and the fact that no toy can tempt him if a pile of clean laundry or a Kleenex box is nearby …

Being who I am, when it came time to name the puppy, I went straight to my favorite books – characters, pets, places, it didn’t matter. I wanted a pet name that would remind me of a world that means a lot to me. So without further ado, here are some of the names we considered, and their literary origins.

Firstly there’s Argos. That’s the name my husband wanted for our little squirmer (notice I say wanted … my son used his right of veto for this one). Supposedly one of the first dogs to be named in Western literature, Argos belonged to Odysseus. His name is synonymous with faithfulness and fidelity. That’s because he waited 20 years for his master to return, and when Odysseus finally did turn up, Argos was the one who recognized him first.

I’ll admit it – I love the direwolves from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. They’re not dogs (exactly), but I say they count. Who wouldn’t want to have a wolf for a pet? No? Is that just me, then? Ghost, Grey Wind, Summer … I seriously considered some of these names for our new pup. But while we love him dearly already, I’m just not sure he’d do the name of direwolf justice 🙂

AM.0070-24     vs.    IMG_0652

Next: Sirius Black. Overused? Probably. Do I love it anyway? Yep. And our puppy is black (well, mostly)! Too bad my son vetoed it, too (did I mention he had unlimited vetoes?!).

Emily Bronte (the author of Wuthering Heights) had a dog named Keeper. I read about that in her biography years ago, and have kept the name in mind since. I love the Bronte sisters, plus the name was catchy – so why not? Then when I married my husband, who is a soccer player, and I learned that a goalie is also called the “keeper” – I thought it was absolutely meant to be! When I mentioned Keeper as a possible name for our new puppy, my husband himself shot it down. So much for that.

Barring the name of Emily Bronte’s real-life dog, I ventured to suggest the name of her sister Charlotte’s fictional dog, who happens to be in one of my favorite books, Jane Eyre. Pilot is the dog’s name – Mr. Rochester’s large, faithful companion. In the novel, Jane describes Pilot as being black and white (perfect!). She first sees him against the backdrop of the wild and windswept moor where she also meets Mr. Rochester for the first time. How’s that for a name that conjures up whimsical literary images? I loved it.

Guess what? So did my son!

And since it’s probably fairly obvious to you that his vote was really the only one that counted all along …. may I introduce to you our new family member:  Pilot.


Pilot joins a family of two hamsters named Happy and Sleepy (named for Snow White’s dwarves, of course!), a rather prissy cat named Princess Peach (you guessed it … Nintendo), and two hermit crabs named Hermie and Crabby (those guys were named on a day when creativity was on a bit of a hiatus …).

Did you have fun finding creative names for your pets? I’d love to know what they are!



4 thoughts on “Dogs in Literature and a New Family Pet

  1. My kids had several dogs too. The first one was a Rottweiler named Cedar. My youngest, Brandon, played too roughly with him and kept getting accidentally bitten. We had to find another home for him. Next came Hugo. Hugo was half Rottweiler and half Lab, a much better match for Brandon. They had him for many years, but he died of cancer when the boys were in their mid teens. They must have love Hugo a lot, because now they have another dog named Bruno that is roughly the same breed cross as Hugo. He’s a good dog too. (There was a dog in between named Zach that got killed in front of our eyes by a cougar on the front deck. Poor Zach.)

    Me? I’d like a cat, and I’d call it Pantalaimon, or Pan for short. I’m sure you know where that comes from! =) Another name that I think is cool for a cat is Isosceles.


    1. We had multiple cats and dogs growing up in the country. Also on our land we had horses, goats, cows and even llamas at one point. Our dogs were of various kinds – most of them basically mutts. But we had one full lab, and one sheep dog of some kind. Loved them both so much!

      I can’t imagine you and your poor sons having to see your dog killed – how sad 😦

      I like the name Pan (Golden Compass, right? – although I’ve never read it!). And I think Isosceles is awesome!!


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