Fun tips for naming your pet

When I was a little kid I had two different dogs named "Jack" … at the same time. I'm not sure why I had such an affinity for that name, but at the time, it made perfect sense. It wasn't until I was older that I discovered the anguish of choosing the perfect name. I stressed over the naming process like it was my first kiss. If you'll soon be adding a new pet to your household, here are some ideas that may help you stumble onto just the right name without losing too much sleep.

Meaning of the name - One of the most popular ways to name your pet is to research the meaning of names to see which ones fit the best. For instance, "Bailey" means "trusted guardian of others' property," and "Tyson" means "son of the German."

She looks like a (fill in the blank) - Pugs are known for their breathing difficulties and they often snort, snot, sneeze, and snore their way into people's hearts. That's why, when I saw my pug as a puppy for the first time, I instantly knew her name would be "Boogi." She's six years old now and still always has a runny nose.

To complete a set - I've known lots of people who name their pets as a matching set. My childhood next door neighbors had two cute little toy poodles named "Buttons and Beau," and friends of ours had a pair of gorgeous boxers named "Bonnie and Clyde."

Part sire, part dam, part babe - If you're familiar with pets of pedigree, you're already acquainted with the practice of integrating part of the sire's name and part of the dam's into the name of the offspring. A kitten whose father was "Pretty Boy Floyd" and mother was "Marsha's Golden Sunshine" might end up with a name like "Jason's Sunny Boy" and be called "Sunny" for short.

To fit in with other names - My two miniature schnauzers are named "Tucker" - after Robin Hood's Friar Tuck, and "Beckett" - after Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. When I got a new male puppy, he needed something equally British and sophisticated. "Winston" - for Winston Churchill, of course - has lived up to the high expectations of his name, even though he does only weigh four and a half pounds.

Derivatives from your home town - People are often very proud of their hometowns and honor them with the names of their pets. Kansas City could become "KC," Paducah could become "Duke" or St. Louis could become "Louie." You could also do the same thing with your alma mater or school mascot.

After your favorite musician or band - It's often been said that music is the universal language, and naming your pet after your favorite musician or band is a popular practice. "Dylan, Marley, Linkin, Kaiser …" the possibilities are endless.

Let the kids name him - Parents with small children often let them name the family dog or cat as a way to get them invested in the pet's care and to help them bond. This can be a bit risky, as you might end up with a dog named "Ice Cream" or a cat named "Fire Truck." You might even end up with two dogs named "Jack."

More from Cherri:

Who's chasing whom? The truth about cats and dogs

House guests and your pets - Avoiding the great divide

How to approach a shy or timid pet