Bella was the most popular name for cats and dogs in 2013, and Max was second. But I must commend the people who named dogs Winnie the Poodle and Chue Man Foo. High marks for whimsy and creativity go to people with cats named Catsanova and Kitten Kaboodle.
The names are compiled annually from a list of 500,000 pets insured by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. Many of the most popular pet names are the same ones given to human babies, the VPI news release notes. Most of this year's most popular names were on the 2012 list.
Here's the top 10 for dogs: (1) Bella (2) Max (3) Bailey (4) Lucy (5) Molly (6) Daisy (7) Charlie (8) Buddy (9) Maggie and (10) Sophie.
Top cat names are (1) Bella (2) Max (3) Chloe (4) Oliver (5) Lucy (6) Charlie (7) Sophie (8) Lily (9) Shadow and (10) Tiger.
"Names that are trending upward include Coco and Lola for dogs and Jack, Luna and Milo for cats," according to the release.
Go to www.wackypetnames.com to see the 100 names that VPI compiled for our amusement. They've even included bios of some of the pets.
Nancy Sherrard of Plano, Texas, wanted to name the new dog Dallas, which would fit in with the name theme of their other dogs -- Texas Bruiser and Rose, for the yellow rose of Texas. Her husband wanted to lengthen the new name to Dallas Cowboy. They compromised on Dallas Cowdog. The three dogs are boxers.
Here are some of my dog name favorites: Potato Chip, Doppler Effect, Okey Dokey, Rico Suave, Ugly Betty, Voodoo Magic and Yankee Doodle Danny.
When a strikingly pretty long-haired stray cat showed up at her door and insisted on staying, Rhianna Wright of Galion, Ohio, started calling her Fluffy. The cat's beauty and winning personality deserved a more regal name, so her official name became Lady Fluffington. The cat will still respond to Fluffy and to her nickname, Fluffernutter, bestowed because "she is borderline insane," Ms. Wright said.
Watch bunnies romp and play at Animal Friends from 2:30 to 4 p.m. today and next Saturday. Some rabbits run around and rush through cardboard obstacles while others are more relaxed, content to sit and watch the others play. All have been neutered and inoculated and are available for adoption, and all have been trained and socialized by volunteers and staff.
Visitors are welcome to watch, even if not planning to adopt. Volunteers and staff will answer questions about rabbit care.
Rabbits are growing in popularity as pets. They can be THE pet for working people who don't have the time or energy to leash-walk dogs. Rabbits are trained to use litter boxes.
They can fill a niche for people who don't consider themselves to be "cat people." Rabbits are different than dogs and cats, but they are affectionate and appealing pets. Just ask the volunteers and staff who care for them. They enjoy an outdoor romp in the yard during warm weather, but they should never live outdoors. Indoors they can live in a crate or an exercise pen when their owners are not home to supervise them, but all rabbits need time outside the cage to run and to play with people and with toys.
Children are welcome at Bun Runs, but must have adult supervision at the Ohio Township shelter, 562 Camp Horne Road, 15237.
Bowling for pets
The 10th annual Alley Up for Animal Friends will be Jan. 26 at Legacy Lanes, 5024 Curry Road, Baldwin Borough 15236.
The two sessions begin at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person or reserve a lane for six people for $150. Ticket price covers bowling, shoes, pizza, soda and a T-shirt. There will be raffles and auctions and visits from adoptable animals at the Ohio Township shelter. Register online at www.thinkingoutsidethecage.org by 5 p.m. Jan. 25
Winning cat writer
Artist Bernadette Kazmarski of Carnegie won the top honor in the 20th annual Cat Writers' Association Communications Contest in 2013 with her illustration series "Cats After van Gogh." The oil and pastel sketches were inspired by an April 2012 visit to "Van Gogh Up Close" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
This was the first time in 15 years that The President's Award went to a nonwriting entry. The award is sponsored by the Cat Fancier's Association. Two of her cats, Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine, were models for the artwork.
Her daily Internet blog, The Creative Cat, won Muse Medallion awards in 2013 and 2011.
Ms. Kazmarski is also a writer. Go to www.bernadette-k.com to see examples of her work, and links to her blog. Her cat art is available in prints, flags, note cards, mug, T-shirts and more.
Since 1992 she has painted 150 commissioned portraits of people's pets -- mostly cats, but some dogs, too. Ms. Kazmarski also works with Homeless Cat Management Team to trap feral cats, and get them inoculated and neutered in an effort to reduce the number of births of unwanted kittens.
Pet Tales appears weekly in the Saturday Home & Garden section. Linda Wilson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-3064.