What’s In a Pet’s Name?

In spite of having named many pets in animal shelters over the years, naming my own pets can still be challenging. While some of their names have come to me instantly and seem a perfect fit, for others nothing seems quite right. I ended up giving one dynamic little cat a temporary name, Girly, only until I could find a name that really suited her. I never found that ideal name and Girly ended up lasting all of her 16 years.  

I have friends who go for descriptive, if long, pet names. Two of my favorites have been Square-Head and That-Naughty-Girl.

Surveys show that more than half of all pets have human names bestowed upon them. Many other names are based on appearance or personality. Some are inspired by the nation of origin for their breed, like the French Poodle named Pierre.

Some people hesitate to rename an adopted pet, but animals are very adaptable and learn a new name quickly, so it’s best to choose a name that resonates with you. Many animals arrive at the shelter as nameless strays and a name is promptly assigned. Others come with names that will hinder their adoption;  Monster, Stink Bomb Betty, or Chainsaw, for example. These are quickly changed.

Recently, the most popular pet names of 2011 were released by one of the many experts who comment on these things. They were: Buddy, Lucy, Max, Smokey, Daisy, Bella, Charlie, Tiger, Molly, and Oreo. A pet health Insurance company released their more colorful listing of the wackiest pet names, including: Franco Furter, Ozzy Pawsbourne, Corporal Cuddles, Beagle Lugosi and Cat Masterson.

 When you pick a name for a new pet, keep in mind that you will say this name often and quite likely in public. It’s usually best to pick something that will not attract shocked stares when you call it out at the dog park.

Short, two-syllable pet names are easiest for your pet to learn and recognize. If you have your heart set on a long name ― like Rumplestiltskin, Sergeant Scruffernutter, or Colonel Mustard ― you can always shorten it for routine use.

One pet name study pointed out that whatever we call our pets probably says more about us than them. That’s most likely true, but a name is important to a pet too, as it is an early step in developing a special bond between person and new animal friend.

Events that Help Homeless Pets:

Mardi Gras Pet Adoption Promotion – Through February 26 at Nevada Humane Society. Most adult dogs are $50 and adult cats are $20. Come to the Mardi Gras Parade on February 25 at 11 am. Open daily for pet adoptions 11 am to 6:30 pm and an hour earlier at 10 am on Saturdays. Call 775-856-2000 for more information.

The Summit Adoption Center open Saturdays & Sundays in February from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Located at 13925 South Virginia Street, Suite 405, next to Hollister and Sunglass Hut, near Starbucks.


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