Rad 90s Dog Names: Pogs, Polly Pocket and More!

Chances are if you had a dog in the 90s, it’s dead.

But if you’re a 90s kid – someone whose main childhood years took place from 1990 – 1999 – you’re also now old enough to adopt a dog of your very own. Silver lining!

I’ve entertained the idea of getting a second dog – an idea that I’ve shelved for now because my 11-year-old puppy needs some pricey surgery. However, I got far enough to start mulling over dog names. I don’t think you can really name a dog before you meet it, but maybe you have a new dog and you can just tell that it’s a 90s dog. But not an actual dog from the 90s. Which, again, are mostly dead. If your new pup is giving you total pre-Y2K vibes, get a load of some of the 90s dog names I’ve brainstormed.

Lisa Frank

Because a great dog deserves to be named after a great dog artist. I actually had a dream that I had a dog named Lisa Frank which was the catalyst for this post. I may use this if any of my short-list dog name faves don’t fit my next dog.

DJ Tanner

Other Tanner family options that work are Becky Katsopolis, Kimmy Gibbler and Uncle Joey, which will always lead into a fun convo about how Joey wasn’t even really an uncle.

Comet would still be good, too.

Space Jam

For this reference to really *work* and make people think of the preeminent sports/animation/celebrity vehicle right away, you can’t name your dog after a Space Jam CHARACTER. You have to name it Space Jam.


Bella is one of the most popular dog names out there, but in this case your dog is named for famed gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi.

You could probably name your dog after Kerri Strugg as well.


After Nancy. Also if you have two dogs, and ones a good girl and one’s full of mischief? Nancy and Tonya.


Please? Someone please?

Hallie and Annie

Only if you have two dogs, otherwise the reference is lost.


I happen to think that it works better with the “s” on the end, but do what you wanna. Pogs the pug would be especially wonderful.

This is a great name for a dog that you think is really cool-looking but you don’t actually know what to do with.

Cory Matthews

Is your dog the lovable boy next door? With tousled brown curls?

The Rachel

You can technically name your dog just Rachel, but you have to use the article before it for this to be a top-shelf 90s reference. 

Mavis Beacon

Mavis is a great dog name AND Mavis Beacon is a great fictional typist. Obviously if you get a pet pig you’ll name it Mavis Bacon.


Have to leave your dog Home Alone? And he always gets into unlikely, messy mischief?

Also you could call a boy dog Mac for short and a girl dog Callie so this is just perfect for any dog ever.

Polly Pocket

If your dog is tiny and compact, maybe you should name her after our favorite 90s choking hazard, Polly Pocket. I’ve already talked about how Molly is an overdone dog name, but for some reason Polly doesn’t get much play and I think it’s a lot more unexpected and cute.


Your dog already has fur, so right away this fits. It’s especially apt if you end up with a dog who doesn’t shut up.


Macarena isn’t just an annoying pop song and an even worse dance craze – it’s also a girl’s name. Heyyy, Macarena!


If you were jealous of the kids whose moms bought Dunkaroos, imagine how jealous people will be of your dog named Dunkaroo. This has no basis as a dog name other than that it’s fun to say and also sounds kind of dog-ish?

__ Spice

You can name your dog after a Spice Girl, but I think the spice name has to match your dog’s personality. Like if your dog is intimidating, Scary Spice, and if small and fluffy, Baby Spice.

Carmen Sandiego

How dope was Carmen Sandiego? This would work great on a dog who was a runaway, is sneaky, or who is just very good with geography.


You can definitely call your dog Baz or Zubie for short, but if he’s stripe-y or sporty there’s no name like Zubaz.

Biggie Smalls

Too soon? It works equally well for a very big dog or a very small dog.

Pepper Ann or Doug Funnie

She’s like one in a million.

Or in the case of Doug, dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah.


I don’t like the sound of this as a dog name. But what I DO like is the idea of someone being like “I have to go home to feed my Tamagotchi.”



Last but not least: I can think of no better way to honor your dog than to name him or her after the greatest dog of the 1990s, Wishbone.


So Your Cat Is Super-Morbidly Obese

There have been signs my cat was really, really fat for a while. Most notably, when friends and relatives see Mabel, they proclaim “wow, you cat is really, really fat!”

Too fat to fit on a lap. In human terms, that’s like being too fat for pants.

Then, there was the fact that she burst a large men’s shoebox lying down in it – then continued to sleep in the box – then gnawed off the side of the box that had the size on it. She ATE THE SIZE LABEL. Whether from shame or hunger, I don’t know.

Also, twice in the past year I’ve had to tell the library that my cat ate my library books. Yep. She chews on hardcover books with plastic jackets. This one reflected the most poorly on me. Of all stock characters, the last one I want to be is “single woman whose cat ruins her relationship with the library.” There are just too many sad things about it.

The last straw came this week. I limit Mabel’s food intake, but that’s not enough for her. I’ve found her sneaking crumbs from dishes left in the sink. If my dog leaves extra food, Mabel will gobble it up – then, predictably, vomit. You might say that cats don’t vomit just to be jerks, but I bet that people who might say that have never had a cat. It was clearly some kind of protest for more food, like a reverse hunger strike. But last Saturday, when I nearly tripped over my cat eating her own dogfood vomit, I knew we had a problem. Join me on my one-week journey to cure feline obesity:

Step 1: Confront the problem

Censored because unlike Mabel, I have the decency to be horrified by this.

While my cat was purring in my lap, I scooped her up and herded us both onto my scale. I looked down and saw a number that I hope I never see again unless I am nine months pregnant. It was bad. Real bad. Mabel’s a lady, so I won’t give the number, but let’s just it’s less than 20 but more than 10 … But it rounds to 20. Okay?

Step 2: Research

According to internet sources, Mabel should weigh 10 pounds, 12 at most. So, she’s about 50% – 100% over her ideal body weight. She’s not a human, but if she were, her BMI would be like 90. That’s the point where they stop using regular categories – overweight, obese – and start using descriptions that sounds like a cross between a superhero, a kiddie pageant division, and a Taco Bell menu item. Super-Mega-Obese. Fantastically Obese Supreme. Obviously, me and Fatty Bell Grande had some work to do.

Step 3: Plan

Did you know that PetMD exists? It’s WebMD for animals, and is probably where cats go to research their symptoms and find out that they have lupus and AIDS. It also gives you a plan of action if your cat is a Seven-Layer Tubby Pro-Am. I picked my areas to focus on – food and exercise. Of course.

Step 4: Food

According to PetMD, you shouldn’t leave cat food out all day. To that I say, if my cat would allow a bowl of food to sit out uneaten for more than five freaking minutes I wouldn’t have this problem. She binge eats it all as soon as I set down the bowl. I actually do measure it and I’m not giving her too much.

Another option is a low-carb diet, but I’m afraid that Mabel’s going to turn super annoying and never stop talking about how many carbs are in whatever she just ate, just like every human I’ve ever met on a low-carb diet. Okay, also I have 3/4 of a bag of my regular cat food left. I’ll buy the Atkins cat food when it’s time to restock, but let’s not go crazy here.

I can’t believe I’ve made a plan for my cat to go on the South Beach diet.

Step 5: Exercise

Cats immediately become suspicious and combative when you try to make them do anything, so getting Mabel to exercise on command wasn’t easy. Basically I’d try to get her to do something, she’d run away, and I’d chase her for a bit. Well, she was running, at least.

Under the “my cat is a douchebag” file, we can add that Mabel CAN exercise … on her terms. For instance, when I had to go to the basement earlier today, she bolted as fast as she could to get down there before the door closed, her enormous slack belly swaying the whole way. I left her down there, figuring that maybe she’d get some accidental exercise chasing a spider or something. At the very least, it meant several hours where she wasn’t eating anything. That, or she was eating an entire family of mice. Who’s to say? But mice are super low carb, so it’s fine.

Step 6: Acceptance

During a second pass at Google, I learned that my cat is certifiably insane. “Well yeah,” you might say. “She’s a CAT.” It’s actually a thing, though! It’s called “psychogenic abnormal feeding behavior,” which in layman’s terms translates to “so crazy she ate herself fat.” So, I haven’t done anything wrong. My cat just has an eating disorder. My life is a Lifetime movie starring Tracy Gold. Symptoms? Obsessed with food, grumpy about food, and “excessive solicitation of interspecific interactions.” What this means is that every time the cat acts like she likes me, it’s because if I don’t feed her she’s going to have to eat my face off, which she is too lazy and fat to do. That also explains why, before meal times, she essentially gives my dog a lap dance.

In leaner times (she actually still uses this for, you know, online dating).

So, there’s good news! By the end of the week, when we stepped on the scale, Mabel and I lost a half a pound! Unfortunately, it was probably all me. All that cat-chasing really gets your heart going.

Update: it has now been a week since this experiment, and today Mabel tried to steal a French fry from my 3-year-old nephew, even though it’s only okay when I do that.

Celebs Who Are About To Get Killed By Their Exotic Pets

One of the earliest lessons of childhood is that certain animals don’t belong in your house. This message was reinforced everywhere. In the American Girl books, Kirsten’s house got destroyed because she brought a baby raccoon inside and he went HAM and burned their house down using his tail as a tiny torch of destruction. Children’s books teach lessons, and I guess the American Girl company thought that “don’t bring weird-ass animals into your house” was still a relevant one in the early 90s. In that one Full House episode, Danny’s heretofore-unheard of sister showed up with her monkey and it got lost. There are even real-life community standards against owning odd-as-shit animals:  the family on my street with the ferrets were treated to open scorn, because ferrets were illegal in our parts. Besides, those animals were little weaselly assholes.

Despite these lessons, some people just don’t get it. Remember a few years ago when that guy owned a menagerie and he set them free and they all got shot? Or that woman whose face got mauled off by her friend’s chimp? Sure, she got a face transplant, and I’d say all’s well that ends well, but there’s somebody else’s FACE on her FACE now and I’m not ready to act like that’s okay.

Here are some famous pet owners who should know better. But since they don’t, I’m here to tell them: you’re bouts to get killed by your exotic pet.

Mike Tyson: You’re Bouts To Get Killed By That Tiger

Recently Mike Tyson got head butted by his pet tiger. The cork at the top of this champagne problem? It knocked the gold teeth right out of Tyson’s mouth. Still, the fighter has reported that he sleeps with his tiger, answering the question posed by the 90s tv movie “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” with a resounding YES.

Kristen Stewart: You’re Bouts To Get Killed By That Half Dog/ Half Wolf

The only surprising thing about Kristen Stewart owning a dog/wolf hybrid is that I can’t imagine Kristen Stewart caring enough to go out and buy a dog/wolf hybrid. I sort of picture her out on her porch smoking weed with a dog/wolf watching her longingly from the side of her yard. She turns to go in and the dog/wolf is at her heels. Stewart looks at the dog/wolf, shrugs, and lets him in behind her. They live apathetically ever after. Until he freaking KILLS her because that is a WOLF Kristen. It’s a wolf. And in real life, wolves don’t turn into handsome muscular teenage boys. They turn into a thing that is eating your still-living flesh.

Justin Bieber: You’re Bouts To Get Killed By That Capuchin Monkey

Justin Bieber bought a Capuchin monkey, abandoned it in Germany, then was ordered by the nation of Germany to pay monkey support. If there’s one country that I would NOT want to get into a child support relationship with, it’s Germany. They’re stern. That, or one of those countries that people always parental-kidnap their children to. Now Bieber’s monkey is a stern German, too. Plus monkeys are crazy. Watch your back in Berlin, Biebs. That Capuchin monkey is going to revenge kill you.

Nicolas Cage: You’re Bouts To Get Killed By That Octopus

Octopuses are kind of cute. Until they squirt ink in your eye and strangle you with their tentacles. Before you know it, the last thing you see before you die is the undercarriage of an octopus. And the only time that should be the last thing you see is if you’re an old, married octopus having an affair with a young female octopus and you have a heart attack during octopus sex and that’s how you die.

Melanie Griffith and Tippi Hedren From The Past: You’re Bouts To Get Killed By That Lion

In the Wizard of Oz, there’s a good reason that the song didn’t go “Lions and Tigers and Bears, You Know, Those Would Be Fun To Have Live In My House With Me.” The Griffith-Hedren clan loved a good lion photo op. Lions in bed with the child! Lions roaring at us in the pool! Lions taking up too much space on the kitchen floor as the maid gets juice from the fridge! Only by the grace of God was the final photo op not “Lions Eating All Of Us With Their Enormous Bone-Crushing Jaws.”

Tracy Morgan: You’re Bouts To Get Killed By Those Sharks

I saw that movie Soul Surfer. It made getting your limb torn off by a shark seem normal, inspirational even. But I ALSO saw that movie Sharknado, so I know that Sharks could kill you – and the fact that sharks live in water, and you’re on land, doesn’t help you. Some day, that tank is going to break and then Tracy Morgan is bouts to get killed by that shark.

Michael Jackson From The Past: You’re Bouts To Get Killed By That Chimpanzee

It’s all fun and games until a chimp eats your face and you have to raze all of your original facial features and rebuild them and regrow your skin in goodness knows what color. Actually, you know what? Never mind. As you were, Mr. Jackson.

Vanilla Ice: You’re Bouts To Get Killed By That Wallaroo

A wallaby/kangaroo hybrid sounds like a really cute pet, right? Especially when you name him Bucky Buckaroo, like Vanilla Ice did. But you know how you get a little nervous when a large, friendly dog jumps up on a tiny person because it could knock them over? Imagine if instead of a large, friendly dog the jumping animal was a mutant kangaroo. Vanilla Ice, you’re bouts to suffer extensive head trauma when that wallaroo knocks you over.

Audrey Hepburn From The Past: You’re Bouts To Get Killed By That Baby Deer

Whenever I find myself looking a little TOO Etsy-and-twee, I think to myself “girl, you look like you would have a pet baby deer that you feed out of a mason jar. And that baby deer only listens to vinyl. Shit. That baby deer wears a loooot of ModCloth.” Sure, a tiny fawn seems like the perfect Manic Pixie Dream Pet. However, those of us who live in deer country know how un-cute it is to get a deer-sized dent pounded out of your car. Audrey Hepburn from the past is bouts to get into a driveway crash because of that fawn.

Steven Tyler: You’re Bouts To Get Killed By That Raccoon

Well. SOMEONE didn’t read Changes For Kirsten. Hide your oil lamps, Aerosmith.

How (Not) To Go Running With Your Dog

Things have warmed up a bit since I wrote How (Not) To Go Running In The Snow, and upstate New York is beginning the slow, sloooow journey toward springtime. I thought now would be a good time to address the best way to go running with your dog. Or, at least, what works for me.

This post would not be possible without my number one running buddy, Harper. She is an almost-8-year-old English Setter. I got her from the shelter a few years ago, and we’ve been besties ever since. Well, I think she’s a 8-year-old English Setter. Due to the whole shelter thing I don’t really know much about her. Sometimes I think they just make stuff up. It’s like having a witness protection program member living with me, because I can’t really ever ask about her former life. Anyway. Running. Here we go.

(1) Gather all of your stuff. That’s probably like, some shoes. Now get your dog’s stuff. Collapsible water bowl, poop bags, collar, leash, personal identification, etc.

(2) Do all of the above in as stealthy a manner as possible, because as soon as your dog sees you wearing sneakers or holding keys, it is ON.

(3) Oh, shoot. The dog saw you. The dog always sees you. Watch as she prances and turns circles.

(4) Do any pre-run  stretches or warmups now. Oh I’m sorry, does your dog actually stand still when you are at the park or on the trail, and allow you to do lunges and arm circles? You’re cute.

(5) Wrestle the collar/leash onto your dog. My dog knows that I do not put her leash on until she is sitting in front of me. This is ostensibly to make her less wiggly, but actually because it is HILARIOUS. She gets so exciting that she’s trembling.

(6) Let the animal run to the car, because you will not run well with a dislocated shoulder. Wait, so your dog trots calmly at your side on the way to your vehicle? Fun.

(7) Watch the dog try to get in the front seat even though she clearly cannot drive. Nice try, pup. BTW, my dog rides in a crate in the back seat — I cannot recommend this method enough.

(8) Get to your destination, and start a slow warmup lap.

(9) Stop 45 seconds later. The dog is pooping. Backtrack another 30 seconds to the closest garbage can.

(10) Run for real. This is going well! The dog is probably looking up at you and dog-smiling and you’re feeling pretty great about your choices.

(11) One mile in, and the dog is pooping again. You are nowhere near a trash bin. No big deal. You run with the leash in one hand and the poop bag in another.

(12) SQUIRREL! Try not to get tangled as the dog lunges in front of you to chase a squirrel. Fall, probably.

(3) How many times can one dog poop? You may be out of bags by now. Try to remember to get one from your car and deal with this before you leave. Nobody wants to be that person.

(14) See an unleashed dog in the distance. Darn. Call out to see if an owner is there. You hear the most dreaded words a dog owner ever speaks: “ Don’t worry, he’s friendly!”. Dog owners who say “don’t worry, he’s friendly!” while walking an unleashed dog are, in my experience, frequently big liars. They just don’t want you to freak out by saying “WORRY! He’s an a-hole.”*

(15) The dog is… not friendly. Run faster. Hey look, you’re interval training! Cool.

(16) Change your route so that you won’t pass them again.

(17) Water break! In the 30 seconds you are stopped, meet another dog owner who wants to tell you that you are using an inhumane collar. This is inevitable because for every single kind of dog collar, from regular collar to Martingale to prong, there is someone who very passionately believes that (1) it is inhumane and (2) your life would be better if you tried the thing that their dog uses.**

(18) Start running again.

(19) Peeing? Ughh fine. Does your dog only stop once per run? Now you’re just bragging and frankly, I don’t like it.

(20) If your dog is a big panter/drooler, now’s about the time someone will make a comment about how hot your dog is. If you know that your dog is fine, a simple smile and “I know, right?” will do. Keep going. Around now is when I thank the lord that I don’t have children, because I know parents get this feedback but a million times worse (Always as well-meaning questions: “oh you’re potty training already?”/ “You haven’t read Happiest Baby on the Block?”/ “You bottle feed?”/ “Your baby wasn’t delivered in a Lake of Shining Waters by a nun and a civil war reenactor?”)

(21) Oh, come on — a family with kids. You’re not going to be running for a sec. My dog loves children and children love my dog, so I don’t really say no to kids who want to pet her. But I do feel bad that she slobbers all over them. Oops.

(22) Run for real for another few miles.

(23) Reach an area with water or mud. It wouldn’t be a proper run if you dog didn’t come home looking like a swamp creature.

(24) You’re done! Drive home with all the windows down because the air smells like dog breath concentrate. Also because your dog is probably fogging the heck out of your windows.

(25) Water all around! Then collapse on the floor with your dog. Until next time!

This was taken after H and I collapsed on the floor after a run. Pretty much how we roll.

*In case you think I’m oversensitive, my dog was attacked at a leash-only park while the owner stood by and didn’t get his dog. I had to pay serious $$$ for shots for her. And it was my birthday. Also as a child I was VERY frequently chased by neighborhood dogs that were guarding the drug houses across the street and next door to me.

** I’ll probably get judged for this too, but my dog is a puller. I got her at 5 years old and her habits were set. I have tried everything. Yes, EVERYTHING, even the thing where you give her liver snaps every time she’s doing well. No dice. Halti? Tried it. Gentle Leader? That too. I finally found a collar that works for both of us, meaning no pulling on my arm and no pain for my dog. Deal with it. [Sidenote, any Halti users hate how everyone thinks that your dog is muzzled? People treated my gentle children’s therapy dog like a vicious beast when we used that thing.]

You All Need To Stop Naming Your Dogs Molly

I have never liked when strangers comment on things I can’t help. More often than not, these comments are appearance-based: my hair (ginger), skin (über-freckled), and general size (a lady in a fitting room commented on my “thigh gap,” which I shouldn’t have looked up because now I’m just real real sad for the young girls on tumblr). But since I was 8 or so, another source of crappy small talk is my name. I’ve had the following conversation more times than I care to remember:

Me: Hi, I’m Molly!
Person: Oh my GOD. Seriously really actually? My dog is named Molly!
Me: … Oh okay.

I’m going to let all of y’all onto a little secret: everyone’s dog is named Molly. I mostly get annoyed when people “oh-my-God-my-dog-is-Molly” me because it’s not an amazing coincidence: it’s pure probability. If you’re an American, and have a dog, and she’s a bitch, odds are like 50/50 that her name is Molly. I’m not impressed. I’m not much of a numbers person, but I think this all means that one in 20 people has a Molly dog. That’s like being amazed that we both have an Uncle Jim. Everybody has an Uncle Jim. Even my Uncle Jim has an Uncle Jim.

These were hard to find when we were kids, right Mollys? Click the link to buy one online.

In comparison, there aren’t so many human Mollys my age, versus say Jessicas and Kimberlys. I’m a bit of a name statistics geek (another post for another day), and can tell you that my name has ranked just outside of the top 100 for most of my life. People know the name and can spell it (unless they work at Starbucks, where they can take the most simple name and spell it Malleyeigh), but I’m usually the only Molly people know. [Note: if you know more than one, ask yourself: am I from the northeast? Do I know a lot of people who are at least upper-middle-class? Okay, are those people white? And last one: are a lot of them Irish or Jewish?] More girls were born in my year named Krystal and Brandi, and that shit’s not even spelled right.

Gratuitous photo of my dog.

So here’s my advice, dog owners: try something else. It will make things easier at the dog park — when you call your Molly, you probably get mobbed by 10 Golden Retrievers. And please think of the poor people who have to run dog training classes or boarding kennels (which I call “camp” so my dog doesn’t realize I’m neglecting her. You can judge, but for 1-4 weeks every summer American parents do the exact same thing). Do they have to call the dogs Molly B. and Molly C. and so forth, like preschool teachers have to do with kids named Addison and Brayden? [Note: By government edict, at least 50% of American boys born in the 2000s are required to have a name that rhymes with Aidan. I don’t know how they determine who has to do it. Lottery, maybe.).

All I’m saying is, there are other options available. For instance, I named my dog after a favorite author. Of course after I did that Kelly Kapowski, Doogie Houser, and Posh Spice all used it on their babies, but I can’t help it if stars of the 1990s copy me when I have good ideas. If you like cutesy old-fashioned names like Molly, you could read baby name rankings from a century ago, or start asking really old people what their parents were named. Or use a favorite character’s name, or a city you’ve been to, or a foreign word, or a name you’ve always loved but would worry about giving to a baby. There are a lot of names out there, and most of them aren’t Molly.

But if you must name your dog Molly, if you actually must, please don’t tell me about it. That’s hard to respond to, because it’s not exactly a compliment so I can’t say thank you. There are no good follow-up questions; if it were a human I could ask if it were a family name, but in my experience people don’t use those on dogs. It also makes me feel like you think I have a dog name, and come on, it’s not like my parents named me Boots or Patches.

But listen. I’m not giving this advice for my own benefit. It’s just that two of my nephews are named Charley and Max, and I know what dog name-based conversation starters lie ahead for them.