Shelter Dogs Shine with Celebrity Names

The dogs pictured here are shelter dogs named after celebrities. (Photo: NYT)

The dogs pictured here are all shelter dogs named after celebrities. (Photo: NYT)

What's in a name? Potentially a life! Animal shelters all over the country are using a clever new tactic to help facilitate adoptions and increase the bond between animals and potential adopters--they're naming the animals after celebrities.

This new marketing strategy helps potential adopters empathize with the homeless animals and hopefully see them in a different light. Dogs that may otherwise be overlooked can now be seen in a more anthropomorphized form, and that can make all the difference for potential adopters.

In an interview with the New York Times, adopter Heather Allard said she adopted her dog, James Earl Jones, almost solely because of his name. Her first dog's name was Simba, and James Earl Jones played the voice of Simba's father in Disney's The Lion King. She took it as a sign that James Earl Jones was meant to be her next dog, and he went from homeless to a beloved pet that day.

I think this is a fantastic strategy for shining a new light on otherwise overlooked homeless pets.When choosing a new four-legged friend, it can be difficult to decide on a dog, especially when you're at an animal shelter. While what's most important is determining that the dog's temperament, energy level, and size are appropriate for your lifestyle and living situation, a quirky name might just be the cherry on top that helps you choose your next dog.

Read more. 

Have you adopted a dog based on its name? Is your dog named after a celebrity? Leave your comment below.



  1. michele vratanina

    January 15th, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    My dog is named Axl Rose :)

  2. Taylor Ley-Leddy

    January 15th, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Fantastic article! But James Earl Jones wasn't Simba in the Lion King. Matthew Broderick voiced Simba. James Earl Jones was Mufasa. Haha.

  3. Nicole Bellemare

    January 15th, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    I have just starded to read some articles you wrote, i am from Quebec, Canada.
    You dont cover my area, but i will read all i can.
    Wish you all the luck you can get.

    Nicole Bellemare

  4. Alison

    January 15th, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    My dog is named Kate after Katherine Hepburn. She and all her siblings were named by the shelter after famous movie stars. I kept the name and it suits her personality. She is a boxer/shepherd mix, very smart and independent. Sometimes doesn't play well with others but has a heart of gold.

  5. DoggieNames

    January 16th, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    This is a great idea! I've developed a huge database of names that shelters can access and pull from when naming their adoptables -- it's got celebrity names, Movie/TV/Comic character names, literary names, food/drink, famous pets and a bunch of other categories.

  6. Lee

    January 18th, 2014 at 6:18 am

    My foster pups did well when named "Thelma" and "Louise" daughter went on to adopt Louise :) ...and of course kept the name! Suits her pretty personality!

  7. dog care

    April 3rd, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    I adopted a dog 5 years ago, his name was Max. Actually I adopted him because he has the same name with my late partner. I'm celebrating my dog and my partner's birthday at the same time. :(

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