Pet name

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In NetHack, your starting pet's name can be defined in your configuration file, or changed manually with the #call or #name command.

Details

If no name is set for a starting pet, depending on your role it may receive a default name:

  • Hachi is the default name for the pet little dog a Samurai starts with. It is a reference to Hachiko.
  • Idefix is the default name of the pet little dog a Barbarian starts with. It is a reference to the Asterix and Obelix comics.
  • Slasher is the default name of the pet little dog a Caveman starts with.
  • Sirius is the default name of the pet little dog a Ranger starts with. It is a reference to Orion.

In-game, creatures are referred to by their names instead of their races; instead of "The little dog hits the grid bug", NetHack will display "Slasher hits the grid bug". Naming creatures is a great way to tell them apart, especially when encountering multiple creatures of the same type.

Default pet names may be set in the configuration file with the compound options catname, dogname and horsename.

Variants

SLASH'EM

SLASH'EM also has options for ghoulname (used for the Necromancer's pet) and wolfname (for the Ice Mage's pet).

Encyclopedia entries

Hachi

Hachi was a dog that went with its master, a professor, to
Shibuya train station every morning. In the afternoon,
when his master was to return from work, Hachi would be there
waiting. One day his master died at the office, and did not
return. For over ten years Hachi returned to the station
every afternoon to wait for his master. When Hachi died a
statue was erected on the station platform in his honor. It
is said to bring you luck if you touch his statue.

Idefix

Another clever translation [of the _Asterix_ character names]
is that of Idefix. An _idee fixe_ is a "fixed idea", i.e.
an obsession, a dogma. The translation, Dogmatix, manages to
conserve the "fixed idea" meaning and also include the syllable
dog -- perfect, given that the character is a dog who has very
strong views on the environment (he howls whenever he sees an
uprooted tree).

[ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ]

Slasher

"That dog belonged to a settler who tried to build his cabin
on the bank of the river a few miles south of the fort,"
grunted Conan. ... "We took him to the fort and dressed his
wounds, but after he recovered he took to the woods and turned
wild. -- "What now, Slasher, are you hunting the men who
killed your master?" ... "Let him come," muttered Conan.
"He can smell the devils before we can see them" ...
Slasher cleared the timbers with a bound and leaped into the
bushes. They were violently shaken and then the dog slunk
back to Balthus' side, his jaws crimson. "He was a man,"
said Conan. "I drank to his shade, and to the shade of the
dog, who knew no fear." He quaffed part of the wine, then
emptied the rest on the floor, with a curious heathen
gesture, and smashed the goblet. "The heads of ten Picts
shall pay for this, and seven heads for the dog, who was a
better warrior than many a man.

[ Conan the Warrior, by Robert E Howard ]

Sirius

Orion was the son of Neptune, He was a handsome giant and a
mighty hunter. His father gave him the power of wading
through the depths of the sea, or, as others say, of
walking on its surface.

He dwelt as a hunter with Diana (Artemis), with whom
he was a favourite, and it is even said she was about to marry
him. Her brother was highly displeased and often chid her,
but to no purpose. One day, observing Orion wading through
the sea with his head just above the water, Apollo pointed
it out to her sister and maintained that she could not hit
that black thing on the sea. The archer-goddess discharged
a shaft with fatal aim. The waves rolled the dead body of
Orion to the land, and bewailing her fatal error with many
tears, Diana placed him among the stars, where he appears
as a giant, with a girdle, sword, lion's skin, and
club. Sirius, his dog, follows him, and the Pleiads
fly before him.

[ Bulfinch's Mythology, by Thomas Bulfinch ]