What’s in a Name

A few weeks ago a reader asked me how I came to name my four legged partner.  I think he was hoping for a simple answer but it was a bit more complicated than that, and brings us to this post.

When Hondo came to Canada his name was ‘Oleg’.  Having a foreign sounding name was part of the package, and it is still listed on Hondo’s pedigree.  But there was no way the ‘Oleg’ handle was going to stay. 

If you know anything about police officer’s senses of humour, then it should come as no surprise that the tag on Hondo’s kennel was changed from ‘Oleg’ to ‘Lego’ by some jokester/handler shortly after my dog arrived, and I have my suspicions on who was playing the name game (the beauty of it all is that he’ll never know when I’m going to get him back  🙂 ) 

Naming your police dog is serious business.  I had done my research and already had a list of names and of all the possibles, Hondo was the perfect fit.

Not just because Hondo was a character in a John Wayne movie and the name appealed to my country-western loving hubby, and not because Hondo was also a character played by Samuel L. Jackson in the police movie SWAT (I’m a SLJ fan).  The real drive behind naming my dog was to honour another police dog who had died in the line of duty. 

VPD Hondo gets his namesake from PSD Hondo of the Hillsboro Police Department, Oregon, USA.

On March 12, 1997, only days after receiving the Silver Medal of Valour for taking down a knife-wielding suspect, Police Service Dog Hondo was shot and killed during a police stand off.  He is the only Hillsboro Police K9 to have been killed in the line of duty.

After researching the story behind Hillsboro Hondo’s story, and after VPD Hondo and I completed our training, I got in contact with Sgt. Bruce Kelley, who had been the brave dog’s handler.  We spoke about the bond we have with our dogs and he related how much these dogs really mean to the communities they serve – to honour the sacrifice PSD Hondo made, the City of Hillsboro opened the ‘Hondo Dog Park’ in 2007, which was the very first park of it’s kind to be opened in the city.  How cool is that?


Memorial to Hillsboro PD Hondo

Memorial to Hillsboro PD Hondo


The plaque above sits at the entrance to the park, and is dedicated to Hillsboro PD Hondo.  Yes, the writing is very tiny in the photo, so here is what it says:

Honoring the memory of K-9 Hondo, who served the Hillsboro Police Department and Community. 

End of Watch: March 12, 1997. 

The Working Dog

My eyes are your eyes,
to watch and protect you and yours.

My ears are your ears,
to hear and detect evil minds in the dark.

My nose is your nose,
to scent the invader of your domain.

And so you may live,
my life is also yours.


And that, my friends, is what’s in a name.

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