A trope involving Nearly Normal Animals
and Talking Animals
The story begins with strays or wild animals living on the streets or in the wild. They may fall for a pet animal or take a liking to a human they meet. In the end, they are adopted by a loving human family and given a name. Thing is, they've had that exact same name throughout the entire movie, but were only called that by their animal friends.
May fall under the category of Contrived Coincidence
, or it could be a form of Translation Convention
from Animal Talk
to English. See also Namedar
- In Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar [a talking ape] is pretending to be unable to speak; his owner lets him "choose his own name" by opening a reference book and pointing to a random word. Caesar points to the word Caesar.
- In Spunky's Diary by Janette Oke, Spunky is named by his mother. When he's bought by a family, they decide to name him Spunky because of his energy, and the puppy is not at all surprised, since that was already his name.
- Averted in the original literary version of The Jungle Book. Mowgli is usually called "little brother" by the other animals, at least until he gets bigger. The humans who adopt him call him Nathoo, after their long-lost son. (His new mother believes that he really is Nathoo returned at first, but it is clear that Nathoo was lost at a later age than Mowgli was - she recalls giving Nathoo shoes, but Mowgli was lost before he could walk, and she sees from how his toes are splayed that he has never worn shoes.)
- In Hank the Cowdog, Hank is content with the Slim naming him that, as that was the name his mother gave him.
- The children's book Zucchini is about a ferret that escapes from the zoo and is adopted by an elementary school class. The students name him Zucchini, the name he had in the zoo. Somewhat justified, as the students have heard about the escape and name the weasel/ferret after himself.
- Subverted in Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones. In a world where stars are actually sentient creatures with godlike powers, Sirius is framed for murdering a dwarf star, and banished to Earth to search for a vital piece of evidence — and, in the process, forced to be reborn as a mortal... a mortal dog, to be precise. When he is later adopted by a young girl, she mulls over his name for a long time, but eventually settles on "Leo" — lampshading it later, when she learns about 'The Dog-Star, Sirius' at school, and comments that it would've been a better name.
- Played straighter later in the book when Sirius meets Miss Smith, who is generally presented as wise and perceptive and who quickly decides that she's going to call him "Sirius".
- Olga da Polga of the book series of the same name takes it upon herself to make sure this trope happens. After hearing her new family discussing various names for her and being disgusted by all of them, she works hard all through the night, tracing the words "Olga da Polga" in the sawdust of her cage.
- Subverted in Catseye by Andre Norton: main character Troy Horan communicates telepathically with a group of animals — a pair of foxes, a pair of cats, and a kinkajou — with intelligence upgraded to human level. When he asks about their names, the female cat says somewhat disdainfully that they were given "Man's names!", and Troy senses a hint "that there were other forms of identification more subtle and intelligent, beyond the reach of a mere human." There's a touch of Hypocritical Humor there, as she told him that after she referred to the male fox by his human-given name.
- Averted by The Book Of The Film Free Willy, in which it's revealed that Willy's "orca name" is Three Spots (referencing the dots under his chin), and the name change is listed among the many ways that life in an aquarium is highly confusing and frightening.
- Averted in the Remy Chandler series. When Remy picks the puppy that will become his pet, he asks the puppy what his name is. Pretty reasonable, given that Remy who is really Remiel, a seraph and a warrior of God, can understand all languages, including the languages of animals. The puppy replies he's called "Fifth of Seven." Remy names Fifth of Seven Marlowe, after his favorite fictional detective.
- Played with in Promise of the Wolves. Kaala's name is wolf-speak for "Daughter of the Moon". Her human friend names her "Silvermoon", and Kaala is surprised and pleased that it's so close.
- It's a minor case of Fridge Brilliance: Kaala has a birthmark on her pelt in the rough shape of a crescent moon, and that was how the pack chose her name when she was born. It makes sense that Ta Li would also see it and think the same way.
- In Warrior Cats, we see in Barley's backstory that he always had the name Barley, even when he lived in the city; the name didn't initially come from the humans who own the farm he lives on. However, in the Ravenpaw's Path graphic novel trilogy, one of the humans calls him "Barley", so we can assume that they just happened to name him his actual name.
- An understandably rare human example in the Edge Chronicles where Twig is captured as a pet for a Termagant Trog, while pretending to be unable to speak he starts chanting "Twig, Twig, Twig." which causes her to decide this is a good name for him.
- Lady and the Tramp: Tramp in the original.
- Actually averted in Lady and the Tramp, where the Tramp is called different names by all the humans he befriends.
- In the sequel, the stray to whom Scamp has taken a liking is adopted by the family and named Angel, which she's been called throughout the entire movie.
- Human example. In The Jungle Book, Mowgli is called that (or Man-Cub) throughout the whole movie by all the animals. In the sequel, his adopted human family has named him Mowgli.
- Well, Mowgli can talk to them...
- In Ratatouille, this is averted. While Remy's real name is, well, Remy, Linguini names him Little Chef.
- At the end of the Christmas Special Christopher the Christmas Tree, when the title character becomes the president's Christmas tree, the president makes a speech about why he's decided to give the tree a name: Christopher.
- Averted at the end of the first Pound Puppies (2010) episode, where Yipper is matched up with a little boy who decides to name him Bob, to the bemusement of the other pound puppies. Played straight with Niblet's sister Rebound (so named because she's always returned) after she's adopted by McLeish's mother Agatha.