Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bingo was his name......OH!

In most families, a thorough and in depth conversation about names is usually sparked by the news of a baby on the way. In my family, it means a new pet.

Obviously, I am speaking of my extended family. Those of you who’ve met my wife already know that the only pets we have are our toads, Trevor & Pickles. I doubt we will ever have anything furry in the house again, seeing as how the “Great Gerbil Incident of 2002” is still being investigated by the United States Department of Health.

So I received a phone call today from my mother announcing the addition of a female golden shepherd mix puppy to their family. My sister also took a male puppy from the same litter. The male pup already had a name picked for him, even before he was conceived, but mom’s new dog still required a name. While the puppies made their way towards their new home, full of excitement, wonder, and vomit, my children attempted to help granny with the all important job of picking a name.

Once the children heard of their onerous task, they began to spout out every cliché dog name they could think of. They even spewed out the fad dog name of the year, Marley. BTW, if you have no idea who Marley is, do yourself a favor and go to the movie theatre immediately, buy a ticket to Marley and Me, take the ticket to the bathroom and run it quickly over your wrists and maybe your neck. It was cute at first, but now it has saturated the media to the point of exhaustion. I’ve never been a big advocate of fads, just ask my Furby.

I decided to look into the dog name world. Wow. Who knew that so much attention would be given to such a simple subject. How does anyone have time to produce intricate websites dedicated to canine naming statistics, especially with all that porn to consume your day?

Since it exists, and its on topic, I’ll share what data I found. Obviously, these statistics are slightly off, due to the fact that its believed that only 20% of all dogs in the US are even registered.

-In 2004, and again in 2006, according to national statistics, the most widely used dog names were Max, Lucy, Princess, and Buddy. ....

-More than 30% of dogs registered in the US are Labrador Retreivers or at least a Lab mix.

-In 2008, the US ownership of Chihuahuas doubled, making it the third most popular breed in the country.

-So far, in 2009, Bella is beating Lucy as the most popular female dog name by only a 2% margin.

- Dogs are, obviously, the most popular domesticated pet in the US. It is the least favorite in Hong Kong. (unless you order it with fried rice and a spring roll.)....

The Marley discussion evolved into a slightly twisted concept. I wonder if owners of pet cemeteries anticipate this sort of thing. Dogs live on an average 10 or so years. That means that all of those terriers named Spuds Mackenzie back in the mid 80s, should all be dead by now. Did the pet tombstone carvers suddenly see an influx of SPUDS requests circa 1993? Did they see it coming? Do they keep certain names in stock on a regular basis, or is this a custom order only business? It would make sense that sometime in the year 2018, you’ll start seeing large quantities of MARLEY tombstones shoot up in pet cemeteries everywhere.

I looked into the pet memorial industry, and found it to be an interesting business to be in. Apparently, almost all of the providers of these products do mostly custom orders. You have many options available to you. One site, Rainbow Bridge Pet Memorials, offered this:

My family will appreciate the significance here. Imagine your dog/cat/lizard remembered forever with their name, date of birth & death, oh and a big ol’ bass, custom engraved on a polished rock.

I imagined this blog going on to also discuss the newest term of endearment for your pet. And when I say term, I mean term life insurance, or at the very least, health benefits. It was a 22 billion dollar industry in 2006, and who knows how much its grown in the last 2 years.

Unfortunately, all of this research into the canine world has left me left me a little tired. I think I’ll just go lay down over there next to that air vent and lick myself for a while.

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