The Challenges of Naming Your Dog

The Challenges of Naming Your Dog

Thank you IAMS for sponsoring this post. Watch ‘Duck’ by IAMS and celebrate the meaningful connection between you and your pet.

My husband and I promised our kids that they could get a dog when our youngest turned five. It was our way to stall until all three could take some responsibility. We tried for one year to adopt a puppy from a shelter. We visited Angell Memorial three times but there were very few puppies and most were for adults only. We went to Buddy Dog but the employee there was quite firm that a Jack Russell terrier mix puppy was too high energy for a family with three small kids. Thank goodness; she was right!

Wally our family dog

We dog sat too, to practice. The first dog we sat shed mightily and could not tolerate high-pitched noises. That breed was out; we had two kids learning to play the flute. The second dog we sat I worried was too large for our small house. We fell in love with him despite his size and did the next best thing to keeping him; we bought his relative from the same breeder.

Wally the golden retriever Picking the sex of the dog was interesting. My son wanted a boy dog to even out gender in the family. We were slated for a girl puppy but her tail ended up bitten off so she did not work out. Her brother was available and the breeder put him through a personality test that indicated he would be a good fit for a family with small children. He was the puppy at the bottom of the pig pile when we visited. In short, he was a big, mellow fellow.

Golden Retrievers are best family pet

Our next hurdle was choosing a name. We decided on a veto approach. Everyone in the family can pick a name, but if there is even one veto, the name gets thrown out. DANGER was the first name to go. We went around and around for days at the dinner table, but nothing passed muster. Finally, my husband thought of Wally after the Red Sox Mascot — we live in Boston, after all! Wally … everyone pondered, but no one objected. Done! He would be named Wally! No more discussion!

Wally our puppy

Wally turned out to be the friendliest dog on the planet, equally interested in humans and dogs. Cats too! And he’d gladly chase rabbits and squirrels. When we first introduced him to the kids’ friends, one mom friend said that it was cruel to subject a puppy to 20+ grabby hands. I said, “I think this puppy won’t mind. He’s pretty mellow.” He was. He was up for the kids and when he had enough, he simply moved away and fell asleep.

golden retriever puppy

Now that Wally is five, our concern is his good health. We — usually my husband these days — take him on a one hour off leash hike every single day, in all-weather except torrential rain. He’s a Golden Retriever prone to hip dysplasia so it’s really important to keep him at his optimal weight and keep his body strong from running. It’s our little joke that our dog goes to the vet more often than our kids combined visit their pediatrician but it’s because our dog can’t talk so any little thing amiss we notice causes us to run to the vet.

Wally our dog on his daily hike

This IAMS™ video reminds me of how much a dog is a part of a family. It’s the first creative IAMS™  has released in two decades since its historic and best-performing Casey campaign in 1999, which highlighted the lifelong story of a girl and her dog. The story touched upon an insight that all pet owners can relate to: the desire for their dog to be youthful and vibrant throughout the course of the dog’s life.

Good nutrition is a vital part of keeping your dog healthy. Did you know that IAMS™ ProActive Health™ products are fortified with essential minerals to help build strong bones? They’re also enriched with antioxidants to help develop a strong immune system and build strong, firm muscles with protein sourced from chicken and egg. IAMS™ believes that the right diet can do amazing things for pets, including boosting immunity, helping to maintain muscle, helping to promote healthy digestion and reducing tartar buildup.

Wally our Golden Retriever

We are giving our dog good nutrition, exercise and plenty of love. My husband and I now joke that if we come back in our next life, we no longer want to come back as one of our kids. We want to come back as our dog!

family dog

How about you? Did you have a hard time picking or naming your pet? Please share!!

Naming Your Dog

p.s. For more information on IAMS™ products, visit their website, Facebook or Twitter.

how to choose family dog

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

The Challenges of Naming Your Dog

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. That IAMS video is too cute. I had a Golden Retriever when I was growing up. They are such awesome dogs. Like you, I’m hoping to get a family dog when my kids are a bit older so that hopefully they’ll share some of the responsibility. For now we just have a cat which, after much deliberation, we decided to just let the 3 year old (at the time) name. We now have a cat named Pencil Bench.
    Michelle recently posted…United States Supreme Court Justice CardsMy Profile

    • Thanks Michelle!
      I love your cat’s name! My kids are now 15, 13 and 10 and we got our puppy five years ago. My kids do help out but require much reminding and don’t do all that much when it’s said and done! My husband and I do most of the dog walks which take the most time. My son’s chore is to feed the dog twice a day. We love having a dog but it’s still like having another child! 😮
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  2. Dee

    I love this! We used to have a Golden. My husband wanted one from a breeder but I found one at the local shelter. He was a gem, so loving, so eager to please. At about 10 he fell ill suddenly and passed before he could have surgery to remove tumors in his spleen. We were heartbroken.

    I know that there is a Golden in my future someday. Oakley left us with his “sister,” a husky rescue. Nikki passed almost 3 years ago, and we have since adopted a hound mix we have decided is a South Louisiana Swayback Otterhound since she is built like an otter. We have also started boarding dogs in our home through and I love it because we have an ever-changing array of dogs now, from pugs to Great Danes!

  3. I loved your post too much. 🙂

    I have a Jack Russell terrier named as Bo Bo. He is so cute and adorable. When I got him at my house; my family members and I got confused what name should be given to him. We took around 5 days to name him. My 5 year old niece once called him Bo Bo just like that only and everybody liked the way she called him.

    Since then we started calling him Bo Bo. Isn’t is a cool and short name.
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