No-kill column: Choosing your pet's name should be thoughtful, fun

October 23, 2012 

So, you have decided to adopt a new dog or cat and it's time to think of that one and only name, perfect and fitting, one-of-a-kind.

Naming your pet can be as challenging and stressful as naming a newborn child. Many things can make the choice much easier.

The effort of choosing a name should be more fun than difficult. And naming your pet should be a mutual decision, one that is well thought through since it will be what you call your pet throughout their life. Be creative and do a bit of research.

A few factors are important to consider when choosing a name for your pet, including whether your pet will be able to understand his or her name, and knowing it is their name as opposed to the everyday usage of the name.

Calling your dog "Roy" or "Boy" can be confusing to your dog and mix them up. Try to choose an exclusive name that your pet can easily understand. Usually names with one or two syllables are easier for your pet to recognize it is their exclusive name.

Waiting a few days after the adoption of your new furry family member may be easier, giving some time to look for the right name. You can watch your new pet's actions, how they play or romp, run, sleep, bark or purr. These little actions or reactions might give you some motivation to select a unique name to match your pet's personality.

Selecting a name for your pet gives it a new identification in your home. Not only is the pet new to the household, the name you choose is new as well and will be part of the daily conversations.

I previously mentioned the stress of naming your pet like naming a child. The difference is that parents have much longer time to look over and research a list of proposed names before coming up with the perfect name before their child is born.

Sometimes you plan to get a pet and sometimes pets just seem to wander into your family without notice, like fostering a pet that needs specialized individual care. You fall in love and become our best-known "foster failure." It does happen and you may have less time to think of that perfect name for your beloved new pet.

You could name your pet after a life experience, another pet you had or a name that means a lot to you in general.

Naming a pet "Brownie" just because that is your favorite dessert could work. "Snickers" for your favorite candy bar, "Jet" because your pet is fast and full of energy, or our "Angel," because she is just that.

Naming your pet after their coat color or markings is an alternative, such as "Pumpkin" for an orange cat or "Smokey" for a brown dog. If all else fails, the Internet is a wealth of information with a huge selection of sites geared toward naming your pet.

We have two great events this Saturday. We are having an adoption event, "Does Tricks, Loves Treats" and we invite you to our Downtown Adoption Center or Palmetto Shelter to select your new family member. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The second exciting event is the National Coast to Coast Bully Walk. Our very own "Pit Crew" has been working hard with several of our bully breed dogs and the crew is taking them on an inaugural walk to show their skills. They will be walking from the new Riverwalk through downtown Bradenton beginning at 10 a.m.

We hope to see you at either or both of these events.

n Free and low cost spay and neuter programs: Call our information line at 941-749-3067.

Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Bradenton Herald.

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