Sunday, July 05, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name

According to an Associated poll of more than 1,000 pet owners released last Tuesday, July 29th, almost half of American pet owners gave an animal a human-like name, such as Jack or Sophie. Some of the more unusual names: Hollywood and Chichi Mittens, both cats; Vegas the Labrador Retriever; Jibber Jack the dog; the Beagle named Talulublue, and Louis XIV, the Yorkie.

But 49% of respondents, including 51 percent of dog owners and 50 percent of cat owners, had given at least one of their pets a human-like name. The most popular? Max got more mentions than other names in the AP Poll, but not enough to give it any broad claim of popularity.

Veterinary Pet Insurance also keeps database of pet names and found that Max pops up more frequently than any other name. According to VPI spokesman Curtis Steinhoff,
there has been a move away from dog names such as Spot and Lassie. In VPI's database in 2008, there were 13 Fidos placing the name at No. 2,866; Rover was No. 2,534; behind names like Grendel, Ginger Snap and Munchie.

Steinhoff believes that this trend reflects a stronger bond between people and their pets. Additionally, veterinarian Wayne Eldridge, believes that pet owners who give their pets human names are more likely to see them as full members of the family. But he also cautions against reading too much into pet names. Many people choose names based on the animal's appearance, he said. One of the most unusual names in the VPI database was Snag L. Tooth for a cat with a "snaggle tooth" that protrudes.
And some people don't know why they chose a certain name for their pet.

Like Beth Hart, 63, of Houston, who started naming her dogs Sassoon for the hair salon Vidal Sassoon. Her current Shih Tzuh is Sassoon the Third. Her husband named their Lhaso Apso, "Dawg," their second dog with that name.
Daniel Rivera, 23, of Lansing, Mich. said his 4-year-old daughter named their pit bull lab mix Little Fella. He said he guesses the name fits since the dog has very short legs. For some it's all about being creative. Susan Jacobs, 45, of Long Beach, Calif., named her black poodle Kingston for her best vacation ever.
"It was beautiful, the people, the music, the warm weather," she said of her trip to Jamaica a decade ago. "Now whenever I say his name, I think of that time of in my life."

Go figure, I named my dogs Hudson, Thames, Rhone and Teign after European rivers. I am thinking Meuse, Vienne, and Seine for my next three toy spaniels.

Tell me what inspired you to name your dog.

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