Wednesday 14 November 2018

How Fido became Freddy

The names we give our pooches reflect our changing attitudes towards them

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

The world is divided into those who favour dogs and those who favour cats: just now, dogs seem to be winning attention. Dog sociologists like John Bradshaw have observed that we are becoming much more anthropomorphic about doggies. Canine pets used to be given names like Rover or Fido: now they're christened (virtually) with much more human names, like Max or Sam, Hubert or Felicity.

This is well borne out by Andrea Hayes' very touching current book Dog Tales - Heart-Warming Stories of Rescue Dogs. Andrea's tender-hearted concern for abandoned or ill-treated mutts is palpable: not only does each dog she portrays have a distinct personality of its own, they also bear humanoid names like Penny, Claude, Alex, Kelly, Ted, Mick and sophisticated Paris.

Occasionally a traditional doggy name appears - such as Skittles (whose backstory was indeed sad, for her puppies kept dying, even though she made valiant efforts to suckle and care for them).

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