By Ben Terris
Bailey is the top dog in Wellesley. Lucy is the queen in Newton.
In the battle of dog names, the most popular dog name in Wellesley is Bailey with 38. The most popular dog name in Newton is Lucy with 33. Molly, the second most popular dog name in Wellesley, with 34, doesn’t even crack the top ten most popular names in Newton.
The lists are compiled from the license registrations filed with Newton and Wellesley government. According to figures from local clerks' offices, there are 2,702 and 1,999 dogs registered in Wellesley and Newton respectively.
The top ten most popular dog names in the two communities are similar to national trends. The Veterinary Pet Insurance Company keeps yearly track of the most popular pet names, based on a review of its database of more than 466,000 insured pets. The national 2008 list was topped by Max (eighth in Newton and sixth in Wellesley), and included many Newton and Wellesley favorites like Lucy, Molly, Bailey, Maggie, Daisy and Bella.
A lot can be learned about a town from its dog names, but to get a real feel for Newton and Wellesley you need to dig deeper than just the top-ten list of names.
This being Red Sox territory, dog owners like to name their pooches after just about anything from the Olde Towne Team. Wellesley has 10 dogs named Fenway to Newton’s three. Both towns have three dogs named Remy. There are also a combined four dogs in the two towns still named Manny.
But lest the town’s are accused of forgetting “the other” sports dynasty, Wellesley has eight dogs named Brady, a dog named Tom Brady and a dog named Tedy Bruschi, and Newton has seven dogs named Brady and three named Bruschi. No one has gone so far, however, as naming his dog Gillette.
Both Newton and Wellesley are more than just sports towns, however. Lovers of literature will see dogs named after great men and women of letters. Wellesley’s literary heroes include Shakespeare, Yeats, Hemingway and Shelley. Newton’s include Oscar Wilde and Nietzsche.
Likewise, both Newton and Wellesley appear to have folk music lovers, but the two towns appear to appreciate different generations. Where Wellesley has two dogs named Woody and one named Arlo, Newton has two dogs named Arlo and one named Woody. On the other hand, Wellesley does have four Dylan’s to Newton’s two.
There are fans of Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic series in both towns, as Newton has four dogs named Snoopy and Wellesley has three, plus a dog named Charlie Brown. There are also a combined six dogs in the two towns named Peanut, and one in Newton named Peanuts.
For Newton and Wellesley entertainment is more than just music and comics. It is something that should be recognized. So, to recognize the recognition of the arts, Newton and Wellesley have 10 and eight dogs named Oscar respectively, Wellesley has 3 dogs named Emmy to Newton’s one, and Wellesley has a dog named Tony.
As lovers of fine things it’s no surprise that the most popular car brand that became a dog name is Bentley, with five in Newton and four in Wellesley. Similarly, no one will be shocked to know that the most popular beer brand/dog name is Stella with seven in Wellesley and five in Newton (although Guinness is a close second in Wellesley with five.)
Sometimes a dog name is nothing more than an indication of potential size. If this is the case, watch out in Wellesley. With 10 dogs named Bear living in Wellesley, and only two in Newton, you might want to watch out when you are walking down the street in the former.
If you couldn’t figure out that Newton and Wellesley are places where the historical figures and fanciful characters still resonate today, just know that both Caesar and Cleopatra currently reside in Wellesley, and Mr. Bojangles and Maggie Mae live in Newton.