Mr. Gandalfini and his friend Sambo

J Gandolfini   Sambo

Both of our dogs, Sam and Gandalf, have numerous nicknames.

Besides nicknames, we have also invented many special songs that we sing to them using both their real names and their nicknames.

Why do we do this? I have no idea.

However, I thought that it would be good to memorialize some of their monikers and explain how they came to be.

First, our older guy Gandalf is often known as “Mr. Mooney”, given that Kerry’s last name is Mooney and since he was hers before I came along. This nickname of his has been the source of some confusion however, when sitting with Kerry’s family and I ask a question of Kerry such as “Did Mr. Mooney get into the garbage again?” and all eyes turn to me as if I were speaking about Kerry’s dad.

Gandalf also goes by “Gand”, “Gandman”, “Mr. Magoo”, “Mr Gooney”, or sometimes “Mr. Gooney Goo Goo”, all of which are somewhat obvious derivatives. “Gooney Goo Goo” comes from an Eddie Murphy routine referring to how James Brown used to speak.

The nickname that Kerry does not like but that I recently had put onto the back side of his dog collar is “Killer” because of his funny way with certain dogs. He’s really anything but a mean dog with people, but Kerry thinks that people might read the name and get the wrong impression.

Oh well!

Another often used name is “Gambo” which rhymes with one of Sam’s nicknames which happens to be “Sambo”.  I’ll elaborate on Sam’s shortly.

Kerry often calls Gandalf “Mr. Wiggles”, since he does a rythmic gyration when we come in the door as both dogs stand behind the gate waiting to see us.  As she says, he looks as if he’s going to wiggle out of his skin.

Occasionally, when Gandalf has been perpetrating raids on the garbage can, we call him “Mr. Gandalfini”, a reference to our favorite mobster artiste, James Gandolfini. Nothing would make our Gandalf happier, than if he could somehow start his own doggie-garbage-hauling-service and expand upon his operations from only the occasional haulling job from inside of our house to his special spot outside into a world-wide operation.

There are many more nicknames for Gandalf, but I’ll move onto Sam.

As I mentioned, Sam’s most used nickname is “Sambo” which we all know must be used carefully. We never intended to name him a prejorative but somehow the name stuck. However, in reality, its the longer version of the nickname “Sambo Jambo” that lengthened his name in the first place. This catchy name is then coupled with two more words into one of our favorite verses, “Sambo Jambo Puddin’ Pie” and as I always like to add, “kissed the girls and made them cry”.

For a while I was calling Sam “Muffin” since he is the epitome of passivity and for a while we thought that we needed to keep him inside, out of fear that a squirrel may somehow take him hostage. Although knowing Sam, he would have colluded with the squirrel and then played out a hostage scenario, all in an attempt to extort us out of some cookies.


Some of the other names that Sam goes by include “Bo-Bo”, “Bo-Bo-Boy”, “Diddy-Diddy-Bo-Bo”, “Diddy-B0″,”Bo-Bo-Jangles” and “Bo-Bo-Licious” not to mention “Bo-Bo-Ski”, since his father is Polish and more recently “Bo-Bo-Ski-Daddy”, a tribute to my favorite stock picker Jim Cramer.

When speaking to both dogs, we often say “Mr. Magoo and the Bo-Bo Boy too” or collectively “The Boogie Boys”.

This brings me to some of Sam’s toys, all of which have their own nicknames. There is “Ducky Wucky” the duck, “Hoggy Woggy” the hedgehog , “Chippy Whippy” the chipmunk, “Squirrelly Whirly” the squirrel and “Piggy Wiggy” the pot bellied pig, which unfortunately disappeared after a visit from one of his friends. Surprisingly, Sam treats all of his toys with love and never chews them up. He does like making them squeak or grunt or do whatever the toy was designed to do, but never would he do them harm. Even Gandalf, who prior to Sam relished in the destruction of a stuffed toy, leaves Sam’s toys alone.


Gandalf really does love his brother.

One of the songs that I like to sing to the boys is a take off on the military drill song that I think I first heard in Bill Murray’s movie “Stripes” but can usually be heard in almost every military movie that involves men marching in formation.

It goes something like this, but in reality it is rarely the exact same song twice.

There once was a dog named Sa-a-a-am-bo,
He was so cute and wanted you to know,
That he wa-anted some love,
And hugs and kisses too,
And if he didn’t get them he would squeak at you (Sam does not bark)

There once was a dog named Ga-a-a-am-bo
He was so mean he wanted you to know,
That he wa-anted some food,
And he better get it now,
Or he will scratch the counters to find some chow (Our counters will never be the same)

Kerry sings her versions of the song with her own words and she usually sings them with much more loving lyrics than I do. I choose not to do this because I don’t want them to become conceited or anything; hence my favorite nickname for both of them is “Bad Dogs”!

Of course I’m only kidding about that and in fact I tell them that they’re “Bad Dogs” in a very loving tone and since their tails wag no matter what I say, to them, I may as well be saying something nice.

Needless to say, we have lots of names for our two crazy dogs and I’m sure as time goes on, we will think of many more.

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