How My Dog Maya Got Her Name

Maya is Magic

Does this picture give you a clue on how Maya got her name?

Nope, she’s not named after the Mayan culture and her name is not Spanish. I actually got her name from the Sanskrit term for illusion. In Hinduism, the goddess Mahamaya’s name means The Grandest Deception (or illusion).

Want to know how I found this name? Okay. But first, here is why her name is perfect for her:

Maya Dog Sleeping on Chair

Don’t be fooled by the sweet quiet innocent look.

It’s the perfect name because Maya appears to be a really good dog. Well, she really is. But part of it is an illusion. ;) My sweet, quiet, and innocent girl can turn into a crazy mess in a flash when she gets excited about something. She will be six years old in August, but there are times when she still acts like a wild puppy. Anyone who has a Labrador Retriever can probably relate.

She goes crazy in the car too. The first 15 minutes is of nothing but her whining excitedly. And if she wasn’t wearing her dog car restraint, she’d be all over the place. She has been getting much better at walking properly on a leash, but she gets distracted easily by smells and other dogs. It’s a good thing she only weighs 70 pounds and wears a leash that makes it difficult for her to pull.

Despite these momentary lapses into naughtiness, Maya’s exuberance and silly antics make me laugh. She has such a zest for life. And she is a great cuddler. Oh, how I love my happy girl!

Maya Playing with Hand Made Dog Toy

Here’s more about how I came up with her name:

Studying ancient history is one of my hobbies. And studying ancient history also means reading mythology. You can tell how much I love mythology by my pets’ names. I had a cat named Patra (short for Cleopatra), a dog named Achilles (long before the movie Troy with Brad Pitt came out), and if you’ve been reading this blog for some time you already know about Sephi. Her name is short for Persephone from Greek mythology.

When I got Maya, her name was Dixie. Even though Dixie was a cute name, I didn’t care for it. And I wanted a name that fit us both. Maya was only 3 months old at the time so changing her name was no biggie. I searched through my history and mythology books for the right name, but nothing seemed to fit.

I was discussing this with a friend of mine from India. I don’t know what inspired me to ask this, but I asked him how to say ‘magic’ in his language. (I also love reading fantasy novels. No, not that kind of fantasy! Magical fantasy with sorcerers, dragons, castles, and heroic knights.) When he said ‘maya’, I felt the light turn on. And when he told me about Mahamaya in Hinduism, I just knew it was the right name. See what Wiki says about the name Maya and Illusion.

Yep, Maya is perfect. So how did you come up with your dog or cat’s name? Please share!

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12 Responses to “How My Dog Maya Got Her Name”

  1. Dakota/Caren/Cody Says:

    I think the way you came up with Maya’s name is just perfect! I love that you put so much thought into it. I always liked the name Dakota and I looked up the meaning, it means “trusted friend” in American Indian, that was it when I saw that I knew I had found his name. He had won a naming contest in Amy Shojai’s blog for her book “Lost & Found” one of the dogs in the book is named after Dakota after her readers voted unanimously after I submitted his name in the contest! Here is the blog post about it http://dakotasden.net/2012/11/12/book-review-lost-and-found-amy-shojais-debut-thriller/

    • ILoveDogs Says:

      I knew Dakota was a native American word, but had no idea that’s what it meant. It’s perfect! I can see why the name got a unanimous vote. I will go check out your review.

  2. jan Says:

    I think it is important when you re-home a dog to also re-name the dog. I love your process for naming Maya the perfect name.

  3. 2browndawgs Says:

    That is a nice name and cute story!

  4. Lindsay Says:

    I like the name Maya. It is just such a pretty name, and now I know why it is perfect for her for other reasons.

    Ace was a year old when I got him, and his name at the time was Junior. I just wasn’t a fan of that name, and I liked the sound of Ace. I like one-syllable names for my pets, and Ace has always been a name I like.

  5. MyBrownNewfies Says:

    How sweet! I’ve looked through so many name books in the past, never actually found one that worked from the books though! Good for you!

  6. FleaByte Says:

    I love it! You did that well! I only wish we could have named our own dogs. They came with names and they were three, so there was no renaming. The chickens and ducks are a different story. And I’ve only named one of them – Jemima the Egyptian chicken. The other nine were the fellowship of the Ring. A friend’s kid named Jimmy (I turned it into Little Jimmy Dickens). Ryan Gosling was a friend’s idea, since the real Ryan is Canadian. And all I really want? Is to name a chicken Mrs. Howell.

    • ILoveDogs Says:

      All creative ways to come up with a name. Mrs. Howell as from Gilligan’s Island? That’s a perfect name for a chicken, especially an old hen! :)

  7. somethingwagging Says:

    Very interesting that you want your dog’s name to have meaning for you as well as be descriptive of her. I like it.

    Before we met Honey, we were thinking of calling her Stella with her formal name being Painting (her breeder’s name) Starry Nights (see, you’re not the only person into cultural references) :).

    But once we met her, it was obvious Stella was too big a name for her. She had to be Honey. It’s not clever or quirky. But everyone who meets her agree that it suits her perfectly.

  8. snoopys@snoopysdogblog Says:

    That’s such a great story behind Maya’s name!! :)

    I got my name cos my human brother was into Snoopy toys and my Mum jumped onboard pretty fast as it was her favorite cartoon character – if Mum had really known my character then she might have named me Mischief with a capital ‘M’ :) Though I think the Snoopy cartoon also likes a little mischief anyway, so I think it suits me! :)

    Have a fun day

    Your pal Snoopy :)

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