Sport stars are top of the name game

ONE of this week’s news stories has been about the legacy of the Olympics and the effect it has had on our pet population. While we aren’t about to produce a nation of border collies doing heptathlon, we have a new generation of animals bearing the names of our sporting greats.

According to the news we should all be seeing cats and dogs called Usain, Bradley and Mo. I laughed at the ridiculousness of this. However, on Monday I walked into our dog ward to be greeted by a rescue dog called Ennis that belongs to one of our nurses.

After discussions with colleagues we decided that sporting heroes have left an impression on generations of the animal world. In this area we can chart the heroes of Newcastle United through black and white cats. When I started nearly 10 years ago we used to see a lot of Keegans, and Andy Cole in the nineties. We then moved on to Shearers that are like their namesake starting to get a bit old and stiff. We have seen some Dembas, an Enrique, but no Andy Carrolls.

We can also chart sport generally. We have seen numerous Rafaels – both Benitez and Nadal. I think of Federer, and who knows possibly an Andy will come in soon.

My husband, a keen cycling fan, wished we named our dog after a great European cyclist. They have names like Ivan, Rigoberto or Edvald, which have the perfect tone to berate the dog when it chases after a Shih Tzu in the park.

We have numerous styles of naming pets. Several go for the ironic Steve, Alan, Graham style names. We have pets named by children – girls opt for Kylie, Brittany, One Direction members and Disney characters, boys opt for Harry Potter and cartoon characters. When names are shouted across the waiting room children find it hilarious, while dads look embarrassed and shuffle in loudly blaming the child for the name.

There are the double acts – Fred and Barney, Rhubarb and Custard and Ant and Dec, as well as the designer brigade, invariably Chihuahua, Yorkshire terriers and other small dogs called Gucci, Armani and Chanel. I often wanted to call a rescue dog Aldi or Lidl.

Our runaway favourites are the owners that have put real thought into the name, Bart Simpson, Charlie Chaplin and even Mel Gibson all raise a chuckle across a busy reception.

And so it turns out that we are influenced by sport in particular when naming our pets and as we are a mixed practice with a large exotics department I look forward to seeing the eagle called Eddie or even a tiger called Tim.

By KATE MATHESON, Director and Senior Vet