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Steelhammer: Considering off-putting pet names

Choosing a name for a pet doesn't have to involve a lot of deep thought.

Unlike humans, dogs and cats won't feel shame or embarrassment if they are given a handle that's a bit pretentious, off-color, gender-inappropriate or stolen from a once popular sports or entertainment figure. To them, hearing their name spoken generally means it's time for a meal, a walk or to receive some long overdue affection from their human companions.

But pet names can make a difference to other humans.

A case in point is an ad that appeared in this newspaper last weekend which sought to connect dogs and cats who ended up in the pound with individuals willing to give them a home and a future. The ad featured photos of the pets along with suggested names, which in this case included the decidedly non-warm and fuzzy "Cujo" for a dog and "Fangs" for a cat.

I'm sure the unusual names had everything to do with the ad's Halloween theme, but they got a co-worker and me thinking about names that could tend to lengthen the adoption process. Here are some examples for dogs: Dungo, Hoser, Humpy, Maulie, Tetanus, Gassy, Psycho, Scratchy and Scooby Doo-Doo.

For cats: Stain, Shredder, Stinky, Dribbles, Stitches, Shriek, Kitler, Stinker Belle and Itch McConnell.

In an unrelated animal development, several news accounts last week identified the Pax area of the West Virginia Turnpike as being the site of multiple car-bear collisions -- all of which proved fatal for the state's official mammal.  For damaged-car owners who are deeply into revenge, recycling and locally grown natural foods, there may be one silver lining: Our state's road kill laws guarantee your right to bear arms ... and bear legs, and bear loins, etc.


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