What’s in a name?
From common to downright wacky, pet owners seem to love telling the stories behind their pets’ names. It makes me laugh to think about when we first met with the dogs’ new/current vet. After being introduced to both of our dogs for the first time, she exclaimed “can’t you give your dogs normal names!?”. Nope! I’ve always liked giving my animals more unique/unusual names. The lower the chances of meeting another animal with the same name as any of mine, the better! Here are the stories behind Kit’s and Fen’s names!
Called most often: Kit
Other nick names include: Muscle man, Sune, Trouble
Kitsune, basically, means fox in Japanese (learn more here). Foxes, or kitsune, are common in Japanese folklore and are often portrayed as intelligent, mischievous, magical creatures. All characteristics that seemed to fit our (then) 9 week old papillon puppy very well – especially the intelligent and mischievous part!
I give my fiancé credit for naming Kitsune. He’s always really like Japanese folklore. We felt like the name Kitsune fit our very smart, very silly, very mischievous little pup. To top it all off, Kit has a huge fluffy tail that, as many people have remarked over the years, looks somewhat like a fox tail. The brownish-red mask markings over our Kitsune’s face also reminded us a bit of a red and white Japanese kitsune mask.
Yes, Kit’s middle name really is Trouble.
He more than earned his middle name when he was a puppy. As a senior, he doesn’t get into quite as much trouble as he used to (I write as Kitsune tries to pull the bag out of the trash can), but he still lives up to his name with his sassy personality.
Fun Fact: My fiancé still to this day occasionally teases me about how “bad” I am at naming animals because, before we settled on Kit’s name, the name at the top of my list was “Trevor”. Does it make it any better that I wanted to name him after MAGICAL Trevor? Everyone loves magical Trevor!
Before we got him Kitsune’s name was Raindrop – thanks to an adorable marking on his head that is shaped like a raindrop. I always felt like it was ironic, though, because Kit has always hated the rain. He was 9 weeks old when we got him and didn’t seem to know his name yet, so luckily it wasn’t a big deal for us to change it.
Looking back, I don’t think Trevor or Raindrop would have been fitting names for Kit. I guess it’s good we eventually settled on Kitsune! As our readers probably know, most of the time we just call him “Kit”. It’s easier for most people to pronounce, and we don’t get quite as many weird looks telling people his name is Kit verses Kitsune.
Called most often: Fen
Other nick names include: Little man, FenFen, Fenris
I’m not sure Fenrir’s name story is as interesting as Kit’s. We actually had Fen’s name picked out years before we ever got him. The name Fenrir is from Norse mythology. The Fenrir/Fenris of myth is a huge monstrous wolf who is the son of the Norse god Loki (learn more here). I guess I see something of a trend, Kitsune and Fenrir have not been our only pets to be named from various mythologies.
I clearly remember a conversation my fiancé and I had waaay back when we first started dating. I told him that someday we were going to live together and have a husky. Well, thanks in large part to Kit, we decided that we’re actually small dog people. At some point we discovered Alaskan Klee Kai and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, all these years later, we live together and have our very tiny ‘husky’. We waited a long time for our Fenrir, and at some point in that time talked about how funny it would be to get a tiny dog, but name him after a huge monstrous mythological wolf.
When we got Fen he was really small, and right from the start he was a pretty nervous/shy dog. The name we had picked for him all those years ago strangely seemed to fit him. I also liked the idea of giving our tiny, scared little pup a really strong name.
Fenrir’s middle name is Snowsong.
There’s not really much of a story as to why. I liked the way that it sounded and thought it was a cute middle name for an adorably cute little pup of the north. I thought that a softer middle name might potentially take some of the harshness out of his first name. Fen is a very talkative little guy who loves to ‘sing’ and he also, as all proper northern breed dogs do, loves the snow.
Because we had picked Fenrir’s name before we even met him, we didn’t really think much about other names for him. His name before we got him was “Bob”, which we thought was funny, but not the most fitting name for him. Fen was also young when we got him and didn’t have any issues adapting to his new name.
Want to see more of Kit and Fen?
Besides just reading through my other posts here, Kit and Fen also both have their own Instagram accounts. Yes, I am extra when it comes to my dogs.
There you have it, the stories behind my dogs’ names!
I’m surprised, actually, that I never posted this before. I always think it’s interesting to learn what people have named their pets, and why. What are your pet(s) named? Do you have an interesting story for how you came up with their name/s? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Why would you ever want to name a dog something “normal”? We settled on Bella for her Italian ancestry and her drop-dead beauty but then we found out Bella is the most popular dog name in North America. Now we go to the dog park and there are five different Bellas running around at any given time! Sigh …
Aw Bella is a good name though! Your Bella is so beautiful, I think the name really fits her.
I love the story of their names. I remember over the past couple of years that Japanese fox themed origami, stationery designs and toys have appeared in the shops. None of them are as cute as your little guy though. I always love seeing him on Instagram!
Snowsong sounds like someone from a mysterious Norwegian fairy tale to me too.
Aw thanks! I feel like when we first named Kit most people had no idea what Kitsune meant, but it does seem to be popping up more commonly these days. Every time I see something kitsune themed it’s SO hard for me not to buy it, lol, it just instantly reminds me of my Kitsune. I thought Snowsong sounded really cool and mysterious too. I don’t know if I’ve even shared before that the boys have middle names, except for using them on their Instagram pages.
It seems like their names fit them very well! I’ve always thought that Kit looks like a little fox baby (or kit.)
Thanks! I think their names fit them well too. Kit’s name fits him in a few different ways. Kits are baby foxes (as you pointed out) and there’s also a species called the kit fox, which have big ears that remind me of my Kit. 🙂
I love these names! I love the story behind them too. It’s nice that you have a shorter call name for them too, so it works perfectly!
Thanks! I tend to pick names that are easy to make shorter nicknames with for some reason. It works out well, because most people seem to get confused when I tell them the dogs are Kitsune and Fenrir, but have an easier time with it if I just say Kit and Fen.
I love hearing these stories; thank you for sharing. You’re right, Kitsune’s markings do look the same as the mask. I’m glad to hear he’s okay, and I look forward to an update. Hugs to him and Fenrir, the wolf-dog!
Thanks! Kit is doing better and better everyday, I’ll be sure to post an update soon.
Such creative, meaningful names! We are not overly creative with dog names; I stick to the rule Stanley Coren mentioned–that dogs best respond to two-syllable names (as pronounced).
For Jasmine, we wanted the most beautiful, two-syllable, girl name that starts with J. Cookie already came with her name when we adopted her. Originally, we were going to change it but as we got to know her, we realized she IS a cookie so we left it.
Thanks! I’d never heard the two-syllable name thing before. Both my dogs seem to respond to their one-syllable nicknames just as well as their two-syllable full names. Jasmine and Cookie are great names! So far I’ve always changed my pets names after getting/adopting them. I like the idea of giving them a new name to go with their new life. But I also haven’t felt that any of the names my pets came with where particularly fitting.