Dogtown: What’s in a name?

DogtownYou may have noticed that some of the dogs featured here have unusual names! What name each dog ends up with is influenced by a variety of factors.

If a dog arrives at the shelter and their name is known, the shelter staff often keep that name or some variation on it. Recently we had Bella, who became Cabella when she moved over to the adoptable section.

Usually, there is no clue what they may have been called before, though I like to run down a short list of the most popular names just for fun and see if there is a response. Buddy, Buster, Jake? Bella, Molly, Lucy?

After that, the dogs are at the mercy of the staff member who writes up their kennel card! There are some names that seem to go with a breed, like Huckleberry or Elvis for a hound or Tiny for a Chihuahua. Some dogs get names that go with their looks, like Onyx (for a pretty black dog) or Smiley. Many dogs get names from popular culture. Merida and Xena were both dogs that had suffered serious medical issues and needed nice strong names (and yes, they both fully recovered).

Everyone tries to stay away from names that would be detrimental to adoptions, like Tyranny or Outlaw, though one of our former shelter dogs was named Ruckus and he was still adopted (and is still named Ruckus)!

This beautiful dog came with the name Rajah, a lovely name that means “prince” in some parts of Asia, though she is a bit more of a princess.

Rajah is a sturdy 3- or 4-year-old Mastiff mix female with a pretty brindle coat. Rajah is a very relaxed dog. She quickly became a favorite of one of our shelter volunteers, Ana, who has taken her to Sunday Dog Class several times now.

At first, Rajah acted as though she had never heard of any of those obedience commands – “Sit? What’s that?” – but by the second class she was performing like a champ. She was just checking to see if we were serious ...

Rajah is housebroken and great in the car. She is fine with other dogs, but most enjoys getting to spend time with her favorite people. She is quiet in her kennel while she waits for her turn to go for a walk.

Rajah is spayed, microchipped and current on her vaccinations and is available at the Humboldt County Animal Shelter at 980 Lycoming Ave. in McKinleyville. More info is available at (707) 840-9132.



Redwood Pals Rescue has the handsome fellow Erebus available for foster or adoption. Erebus got his name from Greek mythology, which says that he was a primordial deity, representing the personification of darkness. That must refer to his beautiful dark brindle coat (which is very hard to photograph) as his spirit is full of brightness.

Erebus is a Pit Bull Terrier mix who is about 2 years old and he is lots of fun. He has been great with all of the other dogs and loves to run and play. He is a good fetcher as well. When Erebus was brought into the cat area for cat-testing, he appeared to be indifferent to them.

Erebus is learning his leash manners and would undoubtedly benefit from some more formalized obedience training with a new owner. He is a friendly guy and would love to find an active home that would allow him more opportunities to run and play. Those long days in a kennel get really old after a while.

If you’d like to find out more about Erebus, or meet him for possible adoption or fostering, please contact us at [email protected] or call (707) 839-9692.

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