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Named After a Dog
“Wild Karen” the inspiration

I recently met another woman named Karen, and our conversation turned to dogs. Of course, there’s a tendency for many of my conversations to take that route, but this one arrived at the subject quite directly. The other Karen told me that she bet the story of how she got her name was more interesting than the story of how I got mine. 

She almost wins that one by default because my story is that my parents found “Karen” in a book of baby names and liked it. Riveting, isn’t it? Karen does indeed have a much better tale. Her stepfather went to the greyhound racing track and a speedy dog named “Wild Karen” won, and that’s who she was named after. She told me that as a child, she hardly ever shared that story because being named after a dog would have invited a lot of teasing from other kids.

I understood completely, but oh, how times have changed! Now, it sounds pretty cool that she was named after a dog. (Of course, going to the greyhound racetrack is not viewed as positively as it once was, but that’s another issue.) Because Karen had expressed concern about sharing this story, I made sure to ask her if I could write about it for The Bark’s blog, and she agreed. It turns out that she just received The Bark for Christmas and loves it!

Lots of dogs share names with humans these days, and some of the really common names such as Emma, Zoe, Sadie, and Sophie are popular for both species, but it’s hard to know who’s named after whom anymore, or whether parents and guardians simply liked the name. Do you know of any people who were named after dogs?

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

photo by sukesu/Flickr

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Submitted by Basil Brown | August 29 2012 |

HA! I know a lad with the middle name of "Max", after his mother's first dog.

Submitted by racergirl | August 29 2012 |

I named my first dog Mitch, but after a week or so it wasn't really sticking to him. I changed his name to Joe, which did stick. A few years later my best friend, who was my roommate when I got Mitch/Joe, named her son Mitch. We tease him a lot that he was named after a dog.

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