Harry Potter is a girl! Our family's new dog

Harry Potter is a girl of course.

The family is about to have a new puppy join them and young Tom is allowed to choose the name. Tom is an avid fan of Harry Potter, the youthful wizard who defeats the most evil opponent one could ever meet. The gender of the new puppy is irrelevant to a true fan. Harry Potter is the dog’s name, the dog is female – so Harry Potter is a girl.

I have come across some interesting namings lately. One family I know had a family meeting to decide the name of their new tiny grey kitten. A number of traditional names were not popular, some names had only one vote, others were one short of total support. The winning name was Cyber, which is, the dictionary tells me,  ‘relating to or characteristic of the culture of computers, information technology, and virtual reality’.  Cyber, meet your very modern family.

When I was a girl, one day one of my brothers came home from school in fits of laughter as he told us about hearing a man call his dog. Geoffrey! Or Jeffrey! Yoo hoo, Jeffrey! I know myself of one named Kevin. One trusts there won’t be too many lads named Kevin nearby when this family calls for its dog to come back to them in a park.

The internet of course can come to the rescue when a family despairs over finding the right name. They can start with the Pet Name Search Tool: 1. Describe your pet. 2. Search by type of name, by letter or by appearance. Type of name includes such categories as arts and literature, geography, religious, sport, while the choice by appearance covers colour, size and markings. Then, you’re advised to ‘fetch names’.

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No need to think. You can look at the web sites with lists of top dog and cat names. Just like lists of top boy and girl names for expectant parents who can’t settle on a name. You can avail yourself of the following options too: name meanings, top 20 names, paired names, naming tips and names of the month. Then there’s How to Name a Pet: 10 steps (with pictures). I’m particularly impressed by the ‘(with pictures)’. I haven’t looked at any of these, mind, and I’m blaming the image of Harry Potter as a girl for starting me on this line of thought.

Living in Papua New Guinea some years ago, I knew a dog whose name was Blue Sky. Can’t beat that for originality. He came to a sad ending, but that’s another story. We ourselves owned a cat whose name was Inimuk, or Innamook, which means ‘come here’ in one of the languages of East New Britain. We’ve owned two with the same name, since we thought it was pretty inventive, not to mention a good conversation starter. The original Inimuk came to an even sadder end than that of Blue Sky …

Have you given your pets unusual handles? I imagine most would agree that a dog named Jeffrey or Kevin indicates a conservative owner. Does your pet’s name describe you, rather than your pet?