mochi & jolie

Pet names highlight status as family members

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The day care roster includes Hannah, Cameron, Sophie, Henry, Tucker and Emma. They are the same names you'd find at just about any day care center in town. The only thing that might raise an eyebrow - or in this case, a whisker - is the fact that these names were plucked from an attendance sheet at Wag a Lot, a day care for dogs, in Atlanta.

Hannah is a German shepherd. Cameron and Henry are lab mixes. Sophie's a poodle; Emma, a boxer; Tucker, a goldendoodle.
Not one of the 43 dogs playing and fetching at the doggie day care answers to Spot, Rover or even Pepper.

Many people are choosing family or celebrity names for their furry friends, considered a reflection of the deepening bond owners have with their pets. Seventy percent of dog owners (and 65 percent of cat owners) said they consider their dog a full-fledged family member, according to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association. Dogs and cats get dressed up for Halloween and buckled up in the car during drives. About 7 percent of dog owners and 5 percent of cat owners throw birthday parties for their beloved pets, according to the association. The attachment doesn't even loosen at bed time. It's estimated four of every 10 dogs sleep in their owners' beds, according to the association.

So, when it comes to names, pet owners nowadays ruminate much like an expectant couple.

Among the most popular dog names are Lucy, Jack, Bella and Charlie, according to an analysis by petfin, an online database of hundreds of thousands of adoptable pets. The trendiest cat names also include Lucy and Molly, though some perennial faves - Shadow, Smokey, Tiger, Tigger and Precious - are holding their own.