They called you WHAT?!

Tangy Mustard
Perfect Pet Names Tangy Mustard

There’s nothing tangy about this sweet boy. (Tangy Mustard)

Most of us have faced the challenge of finding the perfect name for a beloved pet. At the Dumb Friends League, however, this is no small task. With over 22,000 homeless pets and horses arriving at our shelters each year, the responsibility of finding pet names can be a little daunting to say the least.

Some pets arrive at the shelter after their owners are no longer able to care for them, and for those we keep their original names.

But what about the rest? More than 13,000 homeless pets and horses arrive at the Dumb Friends League each year as lost animals or animals that are brought in from other communities, and for those, well, we tend to get a little creative.

You’ll certainly find popular pet names like Max and Molly. Still, it’s not uncommon to encounter unique (and often grin-inducing) names among the cats, dogs, horses and even small pets.

Pet names get creative

Perfect Pet Names Bugs

You can’t bug this sweet lady. (Bugs)

Take, for example, our friend Tangy Mustard. Her name was oddly fitting for an affectionate—you guessed it—orange tabby cat who came to the Dumb Friends League as a lost pet. Or the collection of mice all appropriately named after cheeses, including Swiss, Cheddar and Provolone.

Often we have an adorable play on a celebrity name thrown into the mix. Who could overlook a cat with the name Pawdrey Hepburn?

And, of course, we have fun with our friends at the Harmony Equine Center, like Bugs the horse. We could keep going with Spanx the Manx and Mega Muffin. There’s also the ever-popular pets with food-themed names like Tofu, Cookie Dough and Oreo (hungry yet?).

Yes, we could spend all day listing the unusual names of pets at the Dumb Friends League. The real question is: Who names these pets, and how do they come up with their ideas?

Who comes up with pet names?

Pets are named when they arrive at our shelters. When asked about the inspiration behind naming thousands of pets each year, our Pet Admissions team was full of laugh-out-loud responses.

Themes are popular, especially when it comes to a litter of kittens or puppies (think Severus, Albus and Lucius). According to Pet Admissions Associate Megan Elliot, they sometimes choose names based on a pet’s “cute little quirk.” Other times there’s something that stands out about an animal, or they simply pick a theme for that particular day (candy bars, for instance).

Perfect Pet Names Baby Moon Dragon

Magical, mystical Baby Moon Dragon!

Pop culture provides a go-to naming technique. The location the pet came from may also help inspire creativity, like a cat named Ranger who was found by a park ranger in Golden.

Megan added that pets sometimes come to the Dumb Friends League with unusual names attached. Just last week she met a turtle named Turd McGurd, and we had the pleasure of helping an adorable Shih Tzu named Baby Moon Dragon find his new family.

While some of these pets keep their names after they are adopted, many new owners find that a different name better suits their new companion.

But when it comes to naming pets, well, it appears we have that cat in the bag!

See all of our pets (and pet names) on our adoptions page!