I Don’t Have Kids, So I Brag About Pets

The big fundraiser for the Humane Society every summer is the Wag-n-Walkathon, a Saturday at the park filled with a walk and fun games for the animals and people. One year I was given the honor of leading the walk, and I was also given a cute little Pug named “Naked.”

This was so they could say we were walking “Naked.”

At any rate, I asked you about pet names because a) it would give me a chance to brag about my dog in this post and b) I just love hearing pet name stories. You guys totally delivered, and as a reward, you get a picture of these two cuties who are not mine, but those of a friend.


Pickles and Monkey. I want to completely squish their faces off.

My mom is Dr. Doolittle and we’ve had everything from rabbits and birds to dogs, cats and horses as pets. When it comes to indoor pets—minus fish—there’s been Kilo, Grover, Mitten, Gonzo, Skeeter, Cromwell, Lucy (as in Lucifer), Wolfka, Wendell and Chauncey.

That’s the short list, one that doesn’t include the million other outdoor creatures (and lawn gnomes) that have been given a permanent identity.

This is where I divert your attention away from the fact that we name lawn gnomes and get to the part about how my mom’s dog Chauncey is super smart.


This is his pile of toys.

Well, I should say that this is part of his pile of toys, as some get stashed for a few weeks and then brought back out as a “surprise” to liven things up. As you can see, there’s no shortage of options for the furry little guy to bring out and fling, and he will often completely redecorate the living room by doing just that.

But the cool thing is that my mom has assigned a name to every single one of these toys—most of them sports-related— and the freaking dog knows them each by name and will dig to the back and bottom of the pile to search for and retrieve:

Grandy, Chucky, Hippo, Mags, Gator, Bumble, Rocky, Jiri, Stinkin’ Raccoon, Purple Polly Polanco, Puppy, Huey, JoPa, Monka, Bob-a-Monka, Bunny, Tiger, Migs, Burger, New Toy (someone dropped the name ball there,) Baby, Zetts, Chicken, ChrisMoose, Ducky, Bite Me, Bushcka, Platty and any number of golf balls, which are his favorite toys ever.


That’s the short list.

And in case there’s any confusion, there is a “Monka”—a monkey with rope arms and legs, and then there is “Bob-a-Monka”—a monkey who has lost his rope arms and legs.


We’re still looking into the incident.

Considering there are dozens of options for Chauncey to chose from, the fact that he has about a 99 percent accuracy rating of selecting the correct toy—even if it’s hidden somewhere around the house—is pretty amazing.

Then again, maybe I’m just jealous.  As I’ve said before, if there was an award for putting stuff "where I won’t lose it" and then losing it, I would totally win that award.

And then I would probably lose it.

But if I told Chauncey what the name of it was, I’m pretty sure he could find it.

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51 responses to “I Don’t Have Kids, So I Brag About Pets

  1. I’ve always found my border collie to be amazing. She generally plays with the same few toys. But every so often, I watch her digging through the basket, pulling toy after toy out of the way until she finds the one she was looking for. That’s when I remember she has a memory and preferences. Chauncey’s a cute one!

  2. Cute post about cute pets!

  3. Awesome, Abby!! What a clever doggie indeed! I have two cats, one of whom walks on my back when I’m lying face down on my bed – best massages I’ve ever had with no strings attached!!

  4. I love when I hear stories of dogs with named toys. We never taught Gordon that and I still kick myself. But he’s kind of apathetic about toys, so it just never came up. He still drags out the giant Raiders blanket mike gave him as a puppy (when we used to cover HIM in it as it game) and tries to cover US up with it, which we of course think is ADORABLE. He can pretty much snort snot and its the cutest thing we’ve ever seen…

    • I have to imagine that it is ADORABLE, seeing as it’s Gordon and all. Plus, he’s probably just waiting for his next boating outing or magazine cover. He’s too busy to worry about toys.

  5. Buddy the golden retriever has a toy we call “cow baby:. My 7 yr old, then 4, bought it for him. It’s bluw and white and has NO stuffing inside of it and only 1 eye. Buddy refuses to elt us throw it away. He sleeps with it. It’s both cute and pathetic. The kitten, Monki, doesn’t have a favorite, she’s very democratic with her toys. I think she likes ink pen tops better than anything.

    “walking Naked”….that would be a much difefrent show than Walking Dead…and likely on The Playboy Channel

    • Yeah. Our cat (RIP Wendell) had a big pile of toys too, but unless it was catnip or SHE decided to play with it for five seconds, she had no interest. In other words, she was a reclusive catnip addict with an indifference towards jingle balls but an interest in specks of dust on the floor. I miss her furry little body.

  6. Love this! That is a smart pooch! I always marvel about how my dad’s bird will squawk way before someone gets to our door. I mean, if it hears a car door close outside, how does it know that person is coming to MY FOLKS’ house? He only squawks when the person comes to their door. I find it fascinating.

  7. My parents have 3 shih-tzu’s they named Charlotte, Bristol and Tangie. They were going for a NASCAR theme there but dropped the ball on Tangie. All 3 dogs have a mound of toys and all the toys are named. And just like Chauncey, they can find them all (with 99% accuracy) by name. It’s pretty cool.

  8. Wow, that is SUPER impressive. AND he’s adorable, so bonus points for that.

  9. Ahhh Chauncey is so sweet! And Mac is the same way, it’s hilarious. Every Saturday morning, he collects all his toys from all around the house and puts them on the living room floor. And I started testing him to see if he remembered the names for each one, and he totally does, it blows my mind. Our dogs should probably start a Genius Puppy Club. Mac is happy to serve as the VP to the Chauncster.

  10. Running from Hell with El

    Wow! I can’t believe Chauncey has learned the names for all the toys–super smart dog.

  11. Hee, “new toy.” My parents added a room over the garage about 23 years ago an it’s still called “the new room.” All those dogs are very cute!

  12. We, also, have had many pets. Countless dogs and cats. Also 2 foxes, about 8 raccoons, a deer, a flying squirrel, some hamsters, several horses, a few ponies, a Rhonde Island Red rooster, salamanders, iguanas, rabbits, two pythons and a tarantula named Hitler.

    Some names we have used:
    SPOON AND LLAMA (dogs)
    BIRD (deer) named after Bambi’s first word
    FRED (rooster)
    DR FINKLERSTEIN (python)
    MONTY (python)

    We also had many cows and pigs, but I only listed the ones we kept as pets,

    • Those names are awesome. I didn’t include all the outdoor pet names, but they are numerous and largely sports-related. However, your cat name is quite impressive. Our “Cromwell” was actually “Cromwellington Walter the 1st and the Only” (Walter was my grandpa and they shared a birthday). Crom was shorter.

  13. Chauncy is a smart ol’ dog! I don’t have pets now, but have names in my head for all the pets at the animal shelter I volunteer it. My thing right now is to name all the newcomers after Downton Abbey characters. I’m trying to force two cats named Lady Mary and Cousin Matthew to be catgirlfriend and boyfriend.

  14. The One and Only. That’s great.

  15. My cat is named Laddy, from “The Lost Boys.” He is this beautiful gray fluff ball so I tried out names like Lynx and Bacchus, but he just wasn’t manly enough. He is fourteen and his favorite toys are milk rings and cardboard boxes or paper bags, especially if there is cat nip sprinkled inside. He is also fond of being spun in an office chair and carried around in a laundry basket.

    My cat before him was named Bastian, a combination of my favorite singer/songwriter, John Sebastian and the boy in “The NeverEnding Story.” But no one ever pronounced it like the heroine did in the movie, so I gave up.
    Before that I had Gypsy and Gaje (Romany for Non-Gypsy). These loved balled up paper. Gaje would fetch too! I tried out a few names on her and she responded to Gaje, so it worked out neat to have their names related.

    I am in awe of these stories of dogs knowing the names of their toys. Animals never cease to amaze me.

    • Yes! Wendell (RIP) used to love paper bags and jumping into the laundry basket. And when you think about it, I would love to be that small and hide out in a paper bag or a laundry basket. Plus, you know, catnip 😉

      • I know, right? Safe, legal drugs. Woohoo!
        My friend, a avid dog owner, used to bemoan the unfair lack of intoxicant for dogs. It was funny. He tried catnip, but it did nothing for Puppy.

  16. Ah, so now I understand – your mom sounds delightful. That’s where you get the cleverness and spunk (that’s the positive way to say assertive attitude?) Kids that grow up with animals and a creative household turn out to be dynamite.

  17. That is hilarious.
    My Champ (chocolate lab) is so rough with toys. He had a “baby” but he chewed it…and ate some of the stuffing…as evidenced by the poop in the yard.
    Then we had a tiger that we had to lock up in a closet when we weren’t paying attention. He had almost chewed the head off at the neck. He was going for the kill.

  18. Naming things is great, isn’t it? Be it a pet, a car, or some random thing like a garden gnome or a lamp, names are fun. I especially love “Naked” and his brilliant name. The thought of hugging Naked and kissing Naked has just left me all tingly.

    And Chauncey? Obviously brilliant. My sister’s Beagle Bailey can identify her “new” toys, but she doesn’t know them all by name. You can just tell her to: “show me your new toy!” and she always brings the newest one to show off. They’re amazing, aren’t they?

  19. I love the name Chauncey and have already committed it to memory for my next pet name! I have two cats with questionable intelligence whose “talent” is leaving their expensive prescription cat food regurgitated in random places around the home, but of course their cuteness saves them. Chauncey’s adorable.

  20. My dog Anna has tons of toys but the only one she shows any amount of interest in is her frisbee. She does know that toy by “name.” I’ve never given much thought to naming her other toys. Now I’m curious if she’d have recognized them.

  21. The real question is: when your mom asks Chauncey to go get “whatever name” toy, and he retrieves it, does she remember that it is actually the right one too. That’s a lot of toys and a lot of names to remember, I could never keep up with all of them. I barely remember all the names of my parents and there’s only two of them. So either your mom and Chauncey are both genius, or just good at fooling people into believing their genius.. which I guess would then qualify them as genius 🙂

  22. Dassel has that rubber pig of his you’ve seen in pictures. He loves that thing. It’s the one toy he knows the name of or maybe it’s just the only one he wants to find. He is a smart little bugger. I’m going to have to buy him a spare. One of these days the pig’s little legs are going to fall off.

  23. My yorkie, Bella, is totally the boss of our 2 guinea pigs – Peanutbutter and Squeakerton – even though Bella only out weighs the pigs by about a pound. Posted a pic of Bella on my blog today. Must be that kind of week.

  24. The only “toy” our dogs Red and Speck like is the cat, Moe. They refuse bones, squeak toys, ropes, even shoes. I expect Moe to run away any day now. Had a dog named Cheez once but it ultimately got nange and rabies, and had to be put down. Thats what happens when random people drop animals in your yard. We have a donkey Earl, he loves to play Pepper (baby goat). Had a dog names Shugar who had a favorite deer leg. She’d chew it, toss is around, pounce on it.
    And I just realized how very strange that all sounds.

  25. sometimes I’d RATHER have cute pets than kids!

  26. I don’t have kids, either, and I tend to relate to my friends who do have kids through my dog. For instance, when they talk about how difficult it was to potty train Timmy, I tend to chime in with how I managed to pad train my Lucee (dog) and I offer helpful tips that I used. When they talk about how Susie has trouble sleeping through the night, I usually relate with a story about how Lucee gets up several times to bark at nonexistent house robbers. I have been told that people may not like having their kids compared to my dog, but I just can’t stop doing it. Oh, cute picture of your kids, here’s one of of Lucee and her toys…..

  27. Chauncey clearly wins. I can never find anything.

    PS strange name story: We have neighbors who also have a dog named Kona. Both black lab mixes. I saw them over xmas and told them about my sister and that her and her dog had moved back home. They have a new puppy.

    Without ever having discussed either dog names (I swear) guess what my sister’s dog/their new puppy is named? Stella.

    Two dogs in a row with the same name. Weird, right??

  28. Dogs are freaking amazing. Brooklyn has a pile of toys like that as well. They’re in a wicker laundry basket. She won’t even touch them for awhile and then all of a sudden she’s obsessed with one of them. Weird animals…

  29. Pretty darn cute post. we also have a ton of pet toys. some with names and some without. poor little monka…

  30. Chauncey is one cute dog. I LOVE that all of the toys have names. I’m also now obsessed with the idea of naming a dog Pickles. That is awesome.

  31. Pickles and Monkey’s owner better watch his/her back, because I would totally steal them if given the opportunity.

    Chauncey is a frigging genius. Quite frankly, I would be a little nervous living with a dog that might actually be smarter than me. We haven’t trained Chuck very much. He’s naturally a pretty good boy, and we are lazy. So Chuck is kind of dopey. He’s lucky he is so cute.

  32. Holy cow! Here I thought my Corgi was good knowing the difference between his burger toy, his Grrrr toy and his pizza pizza toy. Your moms pup is amazing! Ok, so the people are amazing too; I really don’t think I could remember all the names myself. 😉 I am stopping from the Not a Mommy hop and now following and looking forward to reading more about your critters. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend.

  33. Impressive toy pile for being a dog!! 🙂

  34. Love the armless monkey. Reminds me of some dog toys around our house. I’m a doggie mom of two. Found your blog via the We’re Not Mommy Blog hop, and am your newest follower. Hope to keep in touch! “Keeping Up With the Joneses”- http://www.zachandashleyjones.blogspot.com

  35. I got really really excited when you showed his pile of toys. I hoped you were going to tell the story you did because my dog can do the same thing too! And I love bragging about it, but other people (those with human children) don’t seem quite as impressed. Honestly though, I’m pretty sure my dog knowing the names of his toys is way more awesome than your kid pooping in the potty… Okay, they are equal kinds of awesome. Way to go Chauncey! You are a supah star!

  36. How awesome is that? My dogs have names for their toys (Pink Pig, Pink Squeak, Brown Baby, Eeyore, Lamby, Blue Ball (heheh), and Sush), but they don’t have a very decent track record of getting the requested one. My older dog does a better job of this, but still, nothing like Chauncey!

  37. My dog’s favorite toy is ‘Piglet’. Yes, the very same from Winnie-the-Pooh. She carries it around lovingly. There is no second choice. She grooms it, sleeps with it. I have 10,000 photos. Also, a quick story about pet names. My boyfriend, when he was a kid, had a dog named Killer. One day he went running down the street so naturally they shouted, Killer, Killer as they chased him. A lady happened to be walking along and as the dog approached she didn’t see him but heard the shouting, Killer, Killer – and ran for her life!

  38. One of my dog’s is named BJ

    it came from Buddy Jr… looking back now, bad name.

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