Before we went to pick up our 6 week old puppy from the shelter, we already had a name picked out. It was going to be Bart. That way I could yell at him like Homer yells at Bart on the Simpsons. But my wife didn’t think it was appropriate to name a black and white dog Bart. Only a yellow dog should be named Bart. The shelter had named him Alister.
When we got to the car to take him home, since he did not have a name, I instinctively said “Hop on in here, Hoss, we’re going home”. Hoss is what I sometimes call people when I don’t know their name. I can’t remember where I picked that habit up, but I believe it refers to Hoss Cartright from the TV show Bonanza. “Hoss” is actually a dialectal variant pronunciation of the word “horse”. At any rate, the name stuck right away and I can’t imagine ever calling him Bart.
Our second dog got her name as my wife and I were sitting in the lobby of the Humane Society, waiting for all the paperwork on our new dog to be processed. Her tag said her name was Candy, but neither of us were feeling that. We’d been tossing names back and forth for about half an hour when my wife mentioned the name “Feffer”. This way, our dogs would be named Hasenpfeffer, or Hoss and Feffer, a reference to the Bugs Bunny cartoon Shishkabugs, or perhaps more well known as something Laverne and Shirley say in their theme song. Hasenpfeffer is actually a rabbit stew. Anyway, I loved the idea of naming her Feffer, but felt like I would get made fun of at the dog park calling for a dog of that name. Feffer is the German word for pepper so we decided to go with the English translation and just call her Pepper.