23 Aug 2014
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What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

I have seen some great pet names over the years, and it is certainly one of the more entertaining parts of my job. I have observed some patterns and trends which I will share below:

  1. For dogs, movie names are fun and always make me laugh.  No matter how many times I see the pet, I get a chuckle.  For example, we had a little hamster client named Maximus (from the movie Gladiator), and a canine client named Ferris Buehler (his last name is really Buehler and he named his dog Ferris – I love it!).

  2. Names resembling or describing the pet are always a hoot.  Porky the dog has had a weight problem all his life; Peggy is missing a leg; Left Eye Louie, of course, had to have his left eye removed; Digger is a prolific excavator; and Princess always arrives in our office in haute couture and a tiara. One of my favorite patients, Bison, really looks like a small bison.  We also have a dog named Q-tip and one named Swiffer, and they both look like their respected products. 

  3. Human names catch me off guard sometimes.  There is nothing like going into a room and saying “How is Bob, Michael, Cindy, Mary Katherine, doing?”  (This one may be veterinary humor.)

  4. Opposites are humorous as well.  The five-pound chihuahua named Tank; the 150-pound mastiff named Petunia, the 100-pound Rottweiler named Lover Boy…!

  5. Historical names make me feel so cultured. Who else gets to hang out with George Washington (again the last name is really Washington!), Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Truman, Patton, Leonardo, and Julius Caesar and Cleopatra at their job?

  6. Sports names are a great ice breaker, and tell us a lot about a client even before we meet them.  Being from Georgia we a lot of Herschels and Dooleys, but we also see Brees, Joe Montana, LeBron, Magic, Kobe, and even a bulldog named Tebow (he is a little confused!).  We have some pets named after Michigan football stars (one family in particular who has two named after Michigan football players) but since I am a Notre Dame graduate, I cannot bring myself to utter their names. I like the client a lot and I have always wanted to slip a Fighting Irish collar on one of his dogs on their way out the door!

Now when it comes to cats, like most things, they don’t follow canine rules. Like the old saying goes, “Dogs have owners and cats have staff.”

  1. Cat names are always opposite when it comes to personality.  “Angel Kitty” is always the most terrifying pet that we deal with. Angel Kitty starts growling at the house and the claws are out and ready when she comes through the office door. Sweetheart is a devil kitty.  However, our feline client Grumpy is super sweet.  Name a cat Tiger, it will be the gentlest pet you could have.  See how this works? But if you name a cat Kitty, I think they get mad that you never took time to name them, and they are angry.  (Trust me on this one.)

  2. If you name your cat Fatty Fatty Fat Cat (a real patient of ours), he will have a weight problem; but also if you a call him Slim, he will still be enormous. Gotta love cats – they do what they want.  Don’t even try to figure them out.

  3. Singer names are great for cats.  These cats seem to trend like the type of music their namesake sings. Miles Davis (his real last name is Davis) is very laid back, Harry Bellikitty (instead of Harry Bellefonte) is the epitome of cool.  Alex Rose is way more energetic than Miles. Darius Rukkitty has a distinctive and Grammy-winning meow, and Boy George is very eccentric.   

  4. Soccer names seem to be a new trend with cats. We have a few Rooneys, Beckhams, Ronaldos, Messi, and even a Robin Van Kitty.  I have not figured out their personalities yet, so I will get back with you about them.  I do know the cats have fewer tattoos than their human counterparts!

So believe it or not, when choosing a name for your dog or cat, you might want to put some thought into it because it might shape their personality, or at least be forever entertaining to your veterinary friends!

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