A sensitive 19th-century writer named Anatole France once wrote: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
Today in Noseland, we write the sequel: “Until one has named an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unidentified.”
No, it doesn’t pack the poetic punch that ol’ Frenchy did. But you get the idea.
Humans love to name our non-human companions. We treat it as a sacred trust, an important duty done out of respect for the animal’s mother. And in naming our four-legged friends, we say something profound about our two-legged selves.
On the other hand, some people must be drunk when they do it. Or accepting a dare. How else to explain Kinky, Slayer and Seemore Butt?
Some folks might be indulging a whim for names they would never give their children, such as Demon or Booger, Scarface or Fluffers. Or in the case of the only licensed pig in T-Town — Poop Nugget.
These are some of the thousands of names in Tacoma’s pet license database. The city posted it on its new TacomaData web page this week in the spirit of information access and government transparency.
Other spreadsheet geeks at the TNT can use these data sets to analyze things like general fund expenditure actuals or yard waste tonnages brought to the landfill.
We’re just thrilled to get a voyeuristic peek behind our neighbors’ dog and cat doors.
Now we can impress party guests by telling them how many dogs named Rover are licensed in Tacoma.
The answer: one.
And one cat named Rover, too.
How much do we love our pets?: So much that our government will eventually give them the right to vote. Otherwise, why was the Pierce County Auditor put in charge of animal control in 2006?
So it boggles our mind that some citizens do not embrace their responsibility to name their animals with dignity — or with any name at all, in some cases.
The city database has 40 entries for dogs licensed as “no name.” Even worse, it has 146 entries for cats licensed as “no name” or “need name.”
What kind of person would sentence a cat to a life —nay, nine lives —of bleak anonymity? They might as well name it John Doe.
(Actually, there is one cat listed in the database as John Doe.)
And Meow, Meow or Woofie? C’mon, people. Put some effort into it.
Thank goodness most animal owners do better than that.
We dipped our snout deep into the data and spotted some interesting pet-naming trends:
Tacoma dog owners are a carnivorous bunch, as demonstrated by names such as Meatwad, Meatball and Meaty, a couple of Pork Chops, one Ribeye and a Bacon.
The only name we found that fits a vegetarian menu is Caesar.
Wash it all down with several Boscos, Pepsis, Whiskeys, a Tequila and a Pilsner.
•Meet the Beatles:
Forget the usual rank order of Fab Four popularity. No licensed canines or felines in Tacoma go by the names John or Paul. But you’ll find a total of 31 dogs and cats named George, and a dozen Ringos.
The Force is strong with local house pets. Darth shows up three times, as does his nemesis, Obi Wan. Same with Leia and Chewbacca. There’s one dog named Padawan, another named Boba Fett.
Leading them all: Yoda, with five cats and five dogs dedicated to the Jedi master. Honored he must be.
The team appears to be a hit among dog owners. You'll find a couple of Felixes, four Edgars, 11 Juniors and 10 Mooses. Thankfully, no Chones, Miltons or Bradleys.
•Misters and Misses:
Among cats, the formal male title is given well over 20 times, including Little Mr., Mr. Kitty, Mr. Orange, Mr. Gray, Mr. Bates, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Hyde, Mr. Spock, Mr. Jeepers and Mr. Peepers.
Not far behind are the single ladies: Missy, Miss Kitty, Little Miss, Miss Happy, Miss Priss, Miss Peaches, Miss Chif, to name a few.
But you won’t find a Mrs. anywhere on the list.
Perhaps someday Tacoma’s tomcats will man up and put a ring on it.
And finally: One dog named Tacoma.
One cat named Seattle.
And no critters named Puyallup, which hardly seems fair.