It's something of a bellwether, the whole pet-naming thing. Just as for human babies, how we assign names to animals says a lot about how we feel about them. So it is that paying attention to trends in animal naming can pay dividends in our understanding of human behavior with respect to pets.

Personally, I consider it a pastime. After all, how better to enjoy the average workday than with the punctuation afforded by an interesting name? It's a work-place benefit, this whole animal nomenclature thing.

I mean, when a cat called Orange-a-rama comes in it's hard to keep the theme off everyone's lips. Or the dog named Viagra? (nom de guerre, "V".) Telling, isn't it?

All of which supports the fact that it's worth keeping track of what people are naming their pets. If not just for sheer nosiness' sake or for the interesting social cues these monikers offer, then for the sociologic light bulb: It's important to know how people perceive their pets, is it not?

I think so. So it is that when Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), our nation's largest pet health insurance company, puts out its annual press release on the most popular pet names, I can't help but do a double-take. It's too much fun to dissect, this pet naming extravaganza.

What names made it big this year within the half-million pet slice of VPI’s insured?

  • Max and Bella won big, proving yet again that I named my son poorly and that Twilight is perhaps the most undeservedly popular series in human history.
  • Bailey, Lucy, Molly, Buddy, Maggie, Daisy, Charlie and Sophie rounded out the top ten for dogs.
  • Add Chloe, Oliver, Lucky and Charlie to the list for cats.

So, how about you? Do you name your pets by the numbers or are you more of an Orange-a-rama kind of girl/guy? C'mon, fess up.

Dr. Patty Khuly

Pic of the day: a truly orange cat by see/saw