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Ty and Buster: How The Boys Got Their Names

Next week it will be nine years since a roly-poly Shar-pei arrived in our lives. It’s hard to believe the time has passed so quickly, and thinking back on Ty’s early days has us reminiscing about the joys of all things puppy. Well, except for one thing … the challenge that nearly drove an insurmountable wedge in our marriage.


Any of you who’ve experience the middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks, costly losses to teething tragedies, and the constant attention required by a puppy also know that any aggravation melts in comparison to puppy breath, plump bellies, and the ridiculously adorable antics of your little buddy. Navigating all of baby Ty’s needs was no problem at all … what caused the showdown that nearly ended us was agreeing on his name.

We lived in Center City Philadelphia at the time, and Rod was of the opinion that we should give the puppy a name that would impart some “street cred.” His logic was that our neighborhood could be tough and if our puppy had a scary sounding name, the other dogs wouldn’t dare pick on him.  There was an interesting list of choices, but, by far, Rod’s favorite was … “Rancid.”

Where could I even start arguing with this logic? I simply held our little puppy up to Rod’s face and said, “Explain to me how you can look into these eyes and even think the word rancid?”

I was leaning toward naming our funny little goofball after one of the best comedians of all time … Fozzy Bear. Not only did this little guy share Fozzy’s sense of humor, he even looked a little like him. It was perfect!

Baby Ty

So, the battle was on … was it going to be Rancid or Fozzy? For days we bickered, each arguing and re-arguing our points, stubbornly referring to the puppy with our chosen name, hoping it would stick. Eventually we agreed that we needed to come to a resolution or we were going to give this poor puppy an identity crisis! There was no other option … we had to eliminate all the names that had been suggested to that point and come up with something that would make us both happy.

It was Rod that came up with “Ty.”

We were living in a converted commercial building called The Old Shoe Factory. Back in the day, it had been a place for manufacturing Buster Brown shoes. I’d never had a pair of Buster Brown’s, but Rod told me about the company’s commercials featuring a little boy named Buster and his dog, Tighe (pronounced, Ty.) The die was cast … having always felt sorry for the kids in school with long names like Stephanie and Alexander, we concurred that “Tighe” would be shortened to “Ty” and our puppy had his name. Ty was so relieved, he promptly settled in for a nice, long nap.

Baby Ty

So, life went on … and things changed, as they always do. A couple years passed by and we decided it was time to move out of the loft. It didn’t take long to find the perfect house … on Brown Street. You see where this is going, right?

We were there about six months when this guy showed up …


We called him “Dog” for a while, but when we couldn’t find his people and decided to make him part of our family, we didn’t even have to think about what we were going to name him. We’d found him on Brown Street, we already had a dog named Ty … Buster was the only choice! From there, the rest is history.

Buster and Ty on Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park - Bar Harbor, ME

The Boys on Cadillac Mountain

And that’s the story of how the boys got their names. How did you decide what to call your pets, or did they already have names when you adopted them?

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  • It’s a good thing, Darlene … our marriage might not have survived it! =D

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