Here are our dogs on the beach in Oregon. The black one is Chocho, which means butterfly in Japanese. The blond one is Kin, which means gold in Japanese. All our dogs come from the animal shelter. Whenever we lose one, we take the other one to the shelter and let her/him pick her/his next friend. When we lost Tono, which is the way a samurai addressed his lord (yes, we hold our pets in great esteem!), Chocho chose Kin. They are the best of friends, and are our best friends. We have a cat, too. You'll meet her soon.
In my book The Accidental Samurai Spy, Tama, a courageous and loyal dog to Aritomo, the heir to a feudal lord, plays a major role in the book. Tama means ball in Japanese. Aritomo named her Tama because when he found her as a pup, she was balled up and trembling with fright.