The Name Game

Pet Patrol: By Sandie Lampe

What you call your pet is a matter of major concern.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?Well, what if your mother had named you Bigboy, Piggy or Sparklepants?

The point is this: Smart and compassionate pet owners put in the appropriate amount of time and consideration when naming their furry friends.

When a colleague invites you over to visit and meet their new dog, Thunder, you automatically envision a certain type. It's probably a rottweiler, right? You prepare for the encounter. The door opens. And standing there to greet you is Thunder … the teacup Yorkie.

There's no accounting for personal taste, granted. But while image may not be everything, it is something. If you're a pro football player, you can't be seen walking a Chihuahua named Love Paws. (If that is the case, you'll want to hang a sign on the dog's collar that says, "This Is My Wife's Dog.")

In assigning a name, I also think it is important to first know the animal's personality. Let's say your dog is overly sensitive. It's probably not a good idea to name him Warrior. (Expectations alone could send him into doggie therapy. Better monikers: Snuggles, Buster, Cookie or Ziggy.)

Let's say you have a sporting dog. Why not let him/her live up to their DNA? Come here Hunter, Tracker, Arrow or Ranger! In other words, let them be the dog they were meant to be.

An appropriate name cannot be over-emphasized. It's how people will associate their feelings about your pet. Why give your neighbor an open shot to ridicule him/her? Names like Mr. Smellyfeet will draw laughs, and your pet will never for-give you.

Dogs want to please you, and be praised. This presents a predicament if your friends are always pointing and laughing at your Miss Margaret Wiffenpoof.

Finding the right name for your pet can be fun. You can explore, and find one that satisfies both of you.

Here's some simple guidance:


Sometimes a dog or cat just looks like their name. Fred or Bullwinkle just howls bassett hound.

If your cute doggie has big pointy ears, why not call him Batman?

And don't Snowball, Nordstrom and Bitsy give clear indication there's a cat in the house?


Sometimes inspiration can come from Tinseltown.

Call your pit bull Brad Pitts … Jimmy Chews, the rat terrier? … Dog Vader, the German shepherd? … How about Cat Sajak for your new cat (who watches TV game shows)?


Buddha is a name that just fits your Maine coon, who watches and meditates before making his move.


If you own two kitties, why not name the darker one Coffee and the lighter one Cream?


Another point of consideration is pet parents' lifestyle. If you are, say, a foodie, serve up these cat names: Pickles, Mocha, Oreo, Pudding, Chopstick, Sugar, Taffy, Kit Kat, Truffles, Kiwi, Kailua, Rosemary, and we'll stop at Ginger.

What about the woofers? Brownie. Broccoli. Nugget. Mousse. Biscuit. Bagel. Latte. Mochi. Burrito. Skittles. Sausage. If you have a chocolate Lab, why not name him Guinness, or Tootsie Roll?


It's important to not confuse your four-pawed buddy. Despite the old joke from comedian Steven Wright, don't give your dog or cat a name that sounds like a common command (not that your cat would ever take orders). Names like "Fetch" and "Rollover" could be confusing.

Whatever name you pick, know that this will be what you call your new buddy for many years. Steer away from names of skin conditions, Soviet dictators and ex-sweethearts. Make it happy and positive.

Categories: Lifestyles