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Woof! Meow! Cluck? Here’s what readers named their pets

Readers Weigh In

“I was so uncertain about the pandemic, and I needed a good friend.”

Yan Laurichesse on Unsplash

Upon hearing about how “Charlie” was the most popular dog name in Boston — and opining that it might be thanks to the popularity of a certain outgoing governor — we asked readers last week what they’d named their own pets, and why. And woof! There were a lot of them, and a lot of different reasons.

In fact, of the close to 200 readers who responded, only eight had pets whose names appeared more than twice. And “Charlie” was indeed among them, although not tops — it tied for second, with another popular Massachusetts institution, “Fenway.” No. 1 was a former (and still?) local favorite, “Brady.” (“You know why,” declared Chris from Boston.) Given the typical lifespan of our canine friends, Boston’s Bradys should be around for a while — it could be a decade or so before “Mac” takes over the top slot.

Here are those top eight:

Meanwhile, we’ve got to hand it to readers for their creativity in naming their four-footed friends — it was almost impossible to narrow the list down, although we admit we gave some preference to pets whose names have local ties. (We’re talking to you, Fenway, Ruggles, and Tuukka!) Here are some of our favorites, and the full list in alphabetical order by species.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.


Ava. “My husband wanted to name her Aveen (an Irish name as he’s from Ireland), but I didn’t want to yell that in a dog park. So I suggested Ava — had not a real idea that it is a popular girl’s name, and we both agreed. I wanted to name her Bobbi after my grandmother and DeNiro as she’s got a ‘beauty mark’ on her face like The Godfather. Alas, compromise led to Ava. She’s the best Ava eva.” — Jennifer O., Everett

Bailey. “For George Bailey.”

Bergeron (Bergy). “Number 37 is number one in our house! When we adopted our puppy, we saw that his fur was mostly black and a tan/gold color. That was enough for us to name him after our favorite hockey player. (Although we have had more than one person ask if he’s named after Tom Bergeron!)” — Erin C., Pembroke

Bijou (Beeboo, Grumbledore, Beezoo, Boops, Budgie, Bizmo, Bumbledore). “He came with that name, means jewel in French. He is a Maltese and it just fits him.” — Sharon A. Lee, Woburn

Blu. “My fiancé wanted to name him a character from a movie — Bobby Boucher [from ‘The Waterboy’ with Adam Sandler] was his favorite. He thought it would be so funny when people asked his name. No way was I naming my dog that. We agreed on Blu and he said, ‘Well, I can always call him my boy Blu!’ Which he does, and so have several other people we’ve met.” — Marybeth P., Roslindale

Boston. “It’s where we met.” 

Bowie. “In honor of David Bowie.” — Chuck D., Canton

Bruin. “When he was a puppy, he looked like a black, fluffy bear cub.”

Bukowski. “We got him during the pandemic and were stuck on names. One day we were reading about the slew of our favorite bars and restaurants closing down in the city permanently, and were happy to see that the original Bukowski Tavern was spared. We went there a lot when we first started dating, pre-marriage and kids. So it was settled, we would name him Bukowski.” — Allie N., East Boston

Buzz. “We spend our summers on Buzzards Bay.” — Brian, Groton

Caesar (Cheesy, Cheesy Boy). “My daughter picked it. It was based on the book ‘What Color is Caesar?’ by Maxine Kumin. It fits as Caesar in the book is a black-and-white spotted dog, and our Caesar is gray-and-black spotted.” — DT, Attleboro

Calvin. “From Calvin & Hobbes cartoon.” — Janet, Weymouth

Chappie. “He’s a rescue racing Greyhound and his track name was Dangerous Mexican. For short, they called him ‘El Chapo.’ Since both of those are obviously unacceptable, Chappie it is.” — Nick, Chelmsford

Clark W. Griswold. “Clark W. Griswold is a legend.” — Hector, Canton

Cornbread. “After the greatest Celtics player of all time [Cedric Maxwell] — well, greatest nickname, anyway.” — Jeff, Hopkinton

Cucciolo. “Cucciolo means puppy in Italian. I have a brindle Chihuahua who will always look like a puppy, so why not call him by a name that means puppy? And sounds pretty different? Plus he looks different so it all fits.” — Brenda, Saugus

Dennis. “I named my son Dennis after the famous Menace. I wanted to name my dog that growing up, but my mom overruled me and we went with Cosmo. I’ve had the name for 15 years and finally got the dog to put the name into use!” — Carly, Southie

Eire. “It means Ireland in Gaelic, which is where my fiancé is from. We also met at the Eire Pub in Dorchester.” — Rachael D., Dorchester

Elvis. “He had long black sideburns and was very cool looking.” — Steve, Sudbury

Emerson. “He is a smart golden retriever that loves nature and thinks deep thoughts.” — Kevin, Jamaica Plain

Enzo. “My son wanted a Ferrari … He got to name the dog after Enzo Ferrari.” — Hugh W., North Cambridge

Fenway. “Growing up in Brockton but living away from Boston for most of my adult life, I always wanted to have a dog named Fenway. So when I adopted a 9-month-old terrier mix named Max from a shelter in Rockville, MD, in July 2004, I changed his name to Fenway, and somehow I just knew he’d be a winner. Fun fact: Fen came home with me on July 24, 2004, the very same day Jason Varitek put his catcher’s mitt in A-Rod’s face and the Red Sox came back from a deficit to beat the Yankees on a ninth-inning walk-off home run by Bill Mueller. And then, all Bostonians know what magic went down with the Sox that October. Coincidence? Kismet? Dave Roberts stealing second? Nah — it was all due to Fenway, the good luck puppy … Even funner fact? He’s still alive and kicking, if slowed down, at the ripe old age of 18! And just like he did back in October 2004, he still gets a peanut whenever the Sox do something good. I was right all those years ago — he’s a winner through and through.” — James B., Boca Raton, Fla.

Fleetwood (Goody Bum Bum, Goody Boy, Tiny Beast). “He’s a rescue and was found in the middle of nowhere, along with 12 other dogs. The rescuers decided they will be a rock-star litter, so all the pups were named after bands, (Led) Zeppelin, Motorhead, (Bon) Jovi and ours, Fleetwood, after Fleetwood Mac. When we met him we decided we’ll just keep the name, because it kinda suited him, a special boy with a special name … If we’ll ever get another dog it will be either Mac (because come on, it needs to be done!), or Bonnie, after Bonnie Tyler.” — Tia, Boston

Freya. “We adopted Freya during COVID (April 2020) from a wonderful rescuer in Louisiana (who has Massachusetts ties and serves in the military). We had the option to change her name ahead of her arrival, but we loved it and thought it was so unique. We decided to keep it. Did you know that Freya was the arrestingly beautiful Norse goddess of blessings, love, and fertility? A member of the Vanir tribe known for her skill in divination, she could be both a gentle ruler and a fierce warrior. Freya is definitely gentle and extremely loving. She is sassy and has a mischievous side and can be quite ‘fierce’ in a good, fun, keeps-us-on-our-toes kind of way. She definitely made quarantining entertaining and I am so thankful she became a member of our family.” — Tracy P., Danvers

Gatsby. “He’s a man about town and enjoys a good party!” — Chris, Cambridge

George. “He was going to be too big to be Ringo.” — Joe, North Shore

Ginger (Mad Licker, Mad Humper, Ginger McStinger, G-word, Furry Flopper). “She is ginger colored.” — AmyJean M., Melrose

Kirby. “My sister passed away in 2012 at age 30. She always wanted a dog and she would have named it Kirby. My mom told me this and I named my husky Kirby in her honor.” — Kevin, Woburn

Kobe. “By no means did I intentionally name my dog after Kobe Bryant as I am a Celtics fan, but I think subconsciously that’s how the name Kobe came about.” — Kerri, Quincy

Leviticus (Levi). “To see if a dog’s name is a good name you have to practice yelling it out loud, as if you were calling them inside. I yelled ‘LEVITICUSSSSS’ and ‘LEVIIII’ in my living room, sounded good to me! He’s a very good boy.” — Tina, Malden

Loki. “Not after the Marvel character. Named after the Norse god of mischief from a Dungeons and Dragons campaign when I was 13. Nerrrrrrdddddddddd!” — P., Cambridge 

Louie (Tiant). “I am a Sox fan in Yankee territory. I like to tease them, though many don’t know El Tiante — shame!” — Anonymous, Connecticut

Merrow. “She’s a Newfoundland, a breed known for their love of water and swimming ability. So I named her Merrow — a merrow is a mermaid or merman of Irish folklore (all of my dogs’ names have Irish origins). Now for the irony: Although introduced to swimming as a pup, she detests the water, denying both her heritage and her name!” — Clare P., North Attleboro

Murphy. “When he was a puppy in 2007, he was black, white and brown and looked like a pour of Murphy’s Irish Stout … Backed up by the Dropkick Murphys and the Red Sox winning the World Series just before he arrived to his forever home, it felt meant to be.” — Jane W., Somerville

Nandi Zingela. “Nandi is a fiesty Plott hound named after an African warrior queen, Queen Nandi.” — Ralph L. III, Malden

Neely. “If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.” — Jay, Bridgewater

Pia. “Because like most pets he’s a pain in the a— sometimes.” — Chad, Assonet 

Rubin. “He’s a boxer dog. Named after Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter.” — Brian, Sandwich

Ruggles. “I went to Northeastern and spent five memorable years studying in the architecture studio below the Ruggles T stop. I always thought Ruggles would be a good name for a floppy, silly dog, which is what we have — a goldendoodle puppy!” — Abby M., Waltham

Samwise Gamgee the LabraDane (Sammy). “When my daughter and I drove to Fall River to pick him up, he moved like a giraffe on roller skates — he was very large for a 4 1/2-month-old puppy, and very awkward. But I am a huge Tolkien fan, and I said to my daughter, ‘Samwise Gamgee was a true friend to Frodo Baggins in uncertain and dangerous times.’ So Sammy was named for Frodo’s best companion because I was so uncertain about the pandemic, and I needed a good friend. And Sammy has been a wonderful companion, and one of the sweetest dogs I have ever had.” — Mary-Louise C., Waltham

Scoop. “He’s long passed now, but he was named Scoop because he loved the snow and would shove his snout down into it and scoop it up and toss it in the air. The best boy ever. He lived to be 21.” — Andy A., Watertown

Seamus. “He looks like an old Irish man.” — Robert M., Weymouth

Sox. “Isn’t it obvious?” — Edward B. Jr., Delaware

Tek Trotman. “Favorite Sox players.”

Theo. “After the one and only Theo Epstein!”

Tuukka. “Bruins fan.” — Lauren, Marshfield

Wally. “Wally is a southern rescue, part of a litter of six puppies all given names beginning with the letter W. His original name was Wallace, after Sir William Wallace. We wanted to rename him something relevant to our lives and ended up shortening Wallace to Wally after the beloved Green Monster!” — Lisa, Framingham

Wilfork (Willie, Wilfork 75). “At the time there were so many pets named Brady, but I named my little dog after my favorite player, Vince Wilfork.” — Erika D., Roslindale 


Ebby. “I was newly sober, just a few years at the time. Ebby is named after Ebby Thatcher, who was Bill Wilson’s (founder of Alcoholics Anonymous) first sponsor.  Ebby grew up in the Back Bay 12 years of her life, then lived in South Boston for four years, and we recently moved to Seaport. Yes!! She’s 16 1/2 years old and still healthy!”  — Anonymous, Seaport

Alexander, You D—k. “Because he’s very regal at times, and he’s also very needy and in the way, thinking only of himself.”

Angel. “Found him at a motel while on tour in Washington state. He was an adorable orange tabby, shivering outside a motel on a very cold March evening. On inquiring about him from the desk clerk, I learned that he had shown up three nights before. The clerk, whose name was Angel, had been feeding him, hoping that his owner would return for him. The motel was across the way from a truck stop; theory was that he may have jumped out of a cab, and the trucker had no way of coming back for him, or possibly even knowing where the kitty had disappeared. At any rate, I took him in, fed him, let him sleep in the bathroom that night and, since he was not claimed the next day, I adopted him. (The motel clerk planned to take him to a shelter that day.) Angel traveled with us from Washington state, to Omaha, to Long Island, N.Y., until he finally ended up at home with me in Lexington. Sadly, Angel died at 20 several years ago; I just wanted to share this story of a very, very special cat!” — Anabel G., Lexington

Belichick. “He has a very similar attitude to a winning coach.” — D, Somerville

Bop. “Bop is Siamese. When I was in Thailand in 2004, a friend of a friend was named Bop. He was very sweet and kind to me and my party as visitors. I was told that Bop is a common nickname for little boys in Thailand. I decided then and there that if I ever had a Siamese cat, his name would be ‘Bop.’” — Maureen B., Hingham

Brooklyn. “It’s my hometown.” — Ethan A., Charlestown 

Dr. Leaky. “Use your imagination.” — Shoo H., Lowell

Edith. “I have a habit of giving my female cats old lady names that begin with ‘E.’ Edith’s predecessors were Esther (twice!) and Ethel. Edith’s brother that we also have is named JD. We also have a French bulldog named Frida, named after the painter Frida Kahlo. She joined us while we were living abroad in Germany. Most of the Germans thought we just gave her a traditional German name. We did not have the heart to correct them.” — Tim, Jamaica Plain

Leo and Bruin. “Daughter loved the name Leo and we are also huge Boston Bruins fans.” — Gary, Dawn, and Sophia, Weymouth

Mocha. “He was supposed to be black but he’s got brown highlights, so Mocha.” — Suzanne B., Chelsea

Montecore (Monty). “Montecore, or Monty for short, is named after the tiger that mauled Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy. My husband wanted to give our little orange tiger kitty a tough name.” — Jennifer M., Braintree

Nauset and Skaket. “Our two favorite beaches on the Cape! Brother and sister kittens given to my kids for Xmas 11 years ago.” — Rebecca S., Needham

Oscar. “We found him as a kitten right before the first frost in a storm drain. We thought of Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street and his garbage can.” — Kim, Somerville

Peachy (full name Ms. Georgia Peach, never used in real life). “Our now 5-year-old Ms. Peach was a rescue who came to us all the way from the Peach State — Georgia. A calico, she even has some peach-like coloring. Props to Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, Mass.” — Bruce, Reading

Pemi. “Our cat is named after the Pemi River (Pemigewasset) in New Hampshire. It’s a beautiful river and where my family has vacationed since I was a kid. I thought Pemi would also be a cute cat name, and since all of my other cats have been named something that started with a ‘P’ it seemed like the perfect fit. Her name at adoption was ‘Penny’ so it was close enough and seemed like a good sign! She is the sweetest cat and very playful. She also has her own Instagram account @pemi_thecat.” — Laura, Charlestown

Pork Chop (LuLu). “LuLu she looked like a LuLu … sweet, sly, mysterious. And pork chop because she grew from a tiny feral cat into a luscious Maine coon that’s as solid as a wall, so pork chops are solid … My mom’s nickname my dad called her was Little Wolf, and in French that’s Loup (louve) and I call my daughter Louey, so it’s just a passed-down name for our family.” — Michelle W., North Adams

Prince Harry. “He’s a handsome ginger who was uncomfortable in the strict confines of the shelter, but thrived in a space where he was free to be himself.” — Laura P., Littleton

Stringer. “I love Idris Elba and I loved his character’s name in ‘The Wire’ — Stringer Bell. And it’s a great name for a male cat. We also have a female cat named Sandy. She was a stray who showed up at our back door the morning of Hurricane Sandy. That was a no-brainer of a name.” — Nancy J., Dorchester

Sylvester. “When I adopted my cat, he had the name ‘Sylveser,’ and he is a Sylvester! He’s a black and white tux cat, and he’s amazing! His name suits him well — both literally and figuratively!” — Brittany, Roslindale

Tater. “He is a big black Persian who develops big clumps in his fur so that he feels like a 15-pound bag of potatoes when you pick him up. Hence Tater.” — Kyle R., Watertown

Trot. “Trot Nixon, former Red Sox player, 2004 World Series champion.”


Thelma and Louise. “Pair of white rock chickens. They are inseparable, look nearly identical, and I thought they might grow up to be troublemakers.”

Autumn Agnes (bird). “Born in September, 2021, my deceased mom’s middle name. I like the life of St. Agnes too.” — Joseph, Lenox

Full list:



  • Alexander, You D—k
  • Angel
  • Auggie
  • Belichick
  • Betty
  • Biscuit
  • Bobcat
  • Bop
  • Brooklyn
  • Buddy
  • Charlie
  • Chloe
  • Dr. Leaky
  • Ebby
  • Edith
  • Gibbs
  • Gracie
  • Harry and Sally
  • Henry
  • James
  • Jamie
  • Leo and Bruin
  • Lola and Annie
  • Mocha
  • Montecore
  • Nauset and Skaket
  • Oscar
  • Peachy
  • Pemi
  • Phoebe
  • Pork Chip
  • Prince Harry
  • Sammy
  • Shermanetta
  • Stringer
  • Sylvester
  • Tater
  • Tessa
  • Theo
  • Trot


  • Thelma and Louise (chickens)
  • Autumn Agnes (bird) occasionally interacts with readers by conducting informal polls and surveys. These results should be read as an unscientific gauge of readers’ opinion.

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