By Phillip Snyder, Executive Director
Published in the Gasparilla Gazette on January 7, 2014
Does anyone remember when naming a pet was such an easy task? We had Rover and Fluffy, Spot (even some that had no spots) and Kitty, Fido and Tiger. Some were named after royalty such as King, Queenie, Prince, Princess and even Duke and Duchess. Believe it or not, I knew a couple that named their pets Dog and Cat. How creative is that?
Nowadays a lot of thought goes into selecting just the right name for a much anticipated new canine or feline family member.
We give them more people-like names such as Charlie and Chloe or even after certain cult movies, including Bella from the Twilight series. Actually, in some polls, Bella was the number one name, for both dog and cat, of last year.
One time in my life I started naming my pets Viking names. There was Thor, Rollo, Heimdahl and Valkyrie. I am not sure why, for as far as I know, I have not one drop of Viking blood, nor did the pets. Then came Hogarth (Hoagie) named after an artist from the 1700s who was the first to portray animal cruelty in art. I used to refer to his work while instructing cruelty investigation classes. Hoagie was followed by Ruffin who was just a Ruff-n-tumble puppy. My wife had a Calico cat named Tiger, figure that one out.
One published poll of most popular pet names lists Bella, Max, Lucy and Molly as the top 5 names for dogs. Bella, Max and Lucy head the list of names for cats along with Chloe and Oliver. Another poll states that Lola, Stella, Bentley and Diesel top the charts. One theory is that the more human-like names we choose for our pets, the more it places them in a close family-like role. Interestingly, some of the popular names are also high on the list for naming human babies.
Animal care staff at Suncoast Humane Society make that extra effort in naming the homeless animals available for adoption. And it works, Chloe, Bella and Lola receive much more attention than Spot, Rover and Duke. All this said, choose a name for your pet that will make you smile for years to come.