According to one national survey, Bo ranks forty-first among male dog names. But when Affordable Vet Services in Ann Arbor ranked the frequency of names of their canine patients, Bo came in twentieth. Staffers at other local animal care facilities say they see plenty of Bos, too–along with dogs named Maize or Blue–or, in some two-pet families, Maize and Blue.
Ann Arbor Animal Hospital counts household pairs Bacon and Eggs, Ping and Pong, Boris and Natasha, and Apollo and Zeus among its patients. The Ann Arbor pet population also includes more than one Athena and Hercules–but lest we feel too smug about our college-town refinement, Affordable’s Bill MacArthur notes that we also have plenty of golden retrievers named Molson. Speaking of consumables, chocolate labs tend to be tagged Hershey or Godiva, according to Ann Arbor Animal Hospital’s Janet Figarra.
While pets are dubbed for pop culture namesakes like Nala, Marley, and Bella as frequently here as elsewhere, some naming strategies are more pronounced locally. Few Harry Potter characters have escaped having an animal companion hereabouts named for them: Albus, Sirius, Severus, Hermione, and even Dobby are curling up in local laps or pet beds. (No Voldemort, though; if a name is destiny, why take a chance?)
Observers have only recently begun to speculate about the relationship between societal trends and fashions in pet naming, but MacArthur’s experience might be a bit of historical evidence: “If I have an appointment with a cat named Morris,” he says, “I know exactly what I’m going to see. It will be yellow, it will be geriatric, and the presentation will indicate hyperthyroidism or renal failure.
“I mean, that ad campaign is twenty years old.”