Scruffy is a plastic dog sold as one of Barbie’s pets in the 1980s. He actually was an unnamed puppy that came with Barbie’s full-grown dog, Beauty (an Afghan hound).
But he didn’t remain unnamed for long. Having read the book Scruffy by Jack Stoneley (which can today be found on Amazon), I loved the book’s title character and opted to name one of the two plastic puppies in the set with Scruffy’s name.
Of course, some real pets have been named after fictional characters. After Peter Jackson’s first Lord of the Rings film came out, I remember hearing about at least one dog named Frodo.
And on YouTube, there’s Gatsby, a Corgi that shares a name with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s character (though I’m not sure if he’s technically named after Jay Gatsby).
The funny thing is that I very specifically remember reading Scruffy over and over again. Every once in a while, the book will pop into my head for no reason. I can’t recall now what the main plot or storyline was—but I loved the character so much that the book featuring him still lingers in my memory.
A great character is like that—he or she will leave an imprint so that the story just keeps coming back to mind.
It has been said that character is plot; whether or not that’s true, a character can spring back into a reader’s head long after he or she has read the book. That’s just one reason why good characterization is so important—it can help a reader connect. And apparently, that may still be true long after the story is put down.
And yes, to this day, I still own my plastic “Scruffy.”