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The Case for Giving Your Pet a Human Name

It’s true— Avery and Lana are hardly typical pet names. In fact, there are some reputable websites that would argue that my naming choices are poor. But, in the nature of any creditable Internet-user with an opinion, I’d like to present a counter-argument: Human names give pets dignity.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. It’s not just a killer Aretha song.

Now, this is not to say I haven’t indulged in some rather silly names myself. Back in 2010 I started a blog dedicated to my betta fish, Harlot. Harlot was later joined by Versace, Prada, and Balenciaga.

But while my blog audience seemed to enjoy the comedic names, I always felt awkward saying them on camera. (“Harlot” doesn’t command the attention you need it to when trying to make an important point about water changes.)

When it came time to add a member to the fur family, I couldn’t bear to bestow a joke on a cat. And I couldn’t be happier with my decision! I named Lana after Lana Turner, in line with my propensity to name my pets after real people. Fun fact: I’ve owned a (Robert) Redford, Roxie (Hart), Scarlett (O’Hara), and Clark (Gable).

The puppy Avery – a name I chose as a variation of Audrey (Hepburn) – came next.

Dog and Cat Names
Avery and Lana

Now, some people will argue that dogs should have unique, quirky names, and I get that – I do. But I’ve always considered my pets members of my family – human or otherwise – and I just couldn’t see my family members going by names like Rover, Duke, or Bandit. In line with treating my pets like respectable people, I gave them respectable names.

I don’t mean to say that Rover, Duke, or Bandit cannot command respect of their own merit. But like any good parent, wouldn’t you want to set your child up for success?

There is no doubt there are biases in the animal naming world. It’s just psychology. For instance – if you had to pick, would you determine Roxie or Rocky to be the more aggressive dog? Well, you’d probably pick Rocky. And, fun fact: Statistically, a Rocky bites more often than a dog by any other name.

Wherefore art thou Fido? Or, rather, why are you ‘Fido.’ Goodness, gracious! Names. Matter.

Opinions aside, here’s some facts that you can use in your naming decisions: Dogs understand shorter names better than longer names. The extra intonations and wording can be perceived by the dog as “overload.” The best, scientifically-backed dog names have one to two syllables, usually include a strong “S” sound, and end with a vowel sound – like Rosie or Lisa. Look it up, folks – it’s called onomastics, or the study of names.

In the end, it’s really up to you what you name your pet. What is your personal preference? What will make you (and your pet) happy? Yours is the opinion that matters – respectfully, not mine. I wouldn’t name my pet Princess, but I also wouldn’t name my human twins Sally and Sarah, because I think individualism is important, and alliteration belongs in books.

But I digress.

What do you think of pets with human names? Do you have a preference? Let me know in the comments below!

Comments

Jill Greenwood
Reply

Couldn’t agree more! Naming our furry children is every bit as important as naming our people children! Barry is named after our magnificent vet of 14 years; PepperPot after one of my favourite childrens’ books. I plan to call my future puppy Algebra, because it’s nice to say and is my favourite bit of maths ?, and yes! I would call a child Algebra but am sadly now past it!! Well played Michaela, and your beautiful furry babies xXx

Lucille Callard Solomon
Reply

In keeping with “Wherefore art thou, Fido” how about “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet..” You chose a fun way to choose names and I agree, it’s great to attach a favored name to a new to be favored pet. A name just pops into my head when we get a new pup and then no other name will fit as others contribute. But then, as Willie Wagger Dagger says: ” A rose by ……..

Tori
Reply

Interesting post! I haven’t thought about this topic too much. My dog is named Lucy, and my older dog who just passed away was Lola. Those are both technically people names but SOOOO popular as dog names! Actually, when I meet someone named Lola I think they have a dog name LOL. I think I’ll name my next girl Luna, keeping with the L theme.

LuciferBui
Reply

Yep, I think so, the pets should have human names, it is so cute. I like it

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