2012-08-29 / Columnists

Pets pets pets

Might as well name every female rescue dog “Bella”. The Twilight craze and the on/off screen chemistry between the characters “Bella” and “Edward” must have something to do with this. No matter how original or exotic a canine moniker, the new owner is going to change your selection to “Bella.” It would be easier just to call every female dog- “Bella 1”; “Bella 2”; “Bella 3.” After all, no mortal can compete with the power of vampires.

I haven’t fallen under the Twilight spell, and know little about the saga. The children’s book Bunnicula about a vampire rabbit who sucks the juice out of vegetables is more my speed; so I may be the wrong person to gauge pop culture’s impact on dog names. Some “Bella” dogs I’ve met pre-date the novels and movies, or at least I think they do.

“Indiria” from West Virginia, now “Bella” from Long Island “Indiria” from West Virginia, now “Bella” from Long Island The first Twilight film starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson was released in 2008, and the Stephenie Meyer novel upon which the movies are based is older than that. So perhaps, even “Bella” dogs from several years ago may have been so christened because of a Transylvanian subliminal suggestion. Read on about a bevy of Bellas and decide for yourself how many of the seven dogs possess the mark of the vampire:

* In 2010, a battle-scarred but sweet Pit came into Babylon Shelter. Dory, a wonderful volunteer who was turning 80 years old that month, named the dog “Bella” for “beautiful” because she saw her inner pulchritude. The name preceded a change of fortune. Shortly after “Bella” was adopted by a Garden City family with several college-age sons because their older Pit had just died. No Twilight influence here, unless Dory’s grandkids were whispering in her ear.

* “Bella,” an Afghan, reappeared on the breed rescue radar last week because her owners came upon hard times and needed a temporary foster home. Four years ago, 67 Afghan Hounds, including my Edgar Afghan Poe, were removed from a hoarder home in New Mexico. Two of the females were pregnant. “Bella” was one of the puppies born after the raid. She had a loving home on the west coast but was surrendered because of economic woes. Now a similar situation has happened on the east coast. Was my Edgar the sire of this litter, and has his namesake, the master of the macabre cursed Bella’s karma? Edgar was about two years old at the time and still intact so it is possible that Bella is his daughter.

* In April “Bella”, a Chihuahua, was abandoned in a NJ dog park on a freezing night with a note and bags of supplies, including, of all things, a life jacket. I knew about her because Afghan Rescue had taken a debilitated Afghan from this NJ shelter in March. Chihuahua “Bella” wound up coming to Last Hope and being adopted by a Wantagh family who kept the name. Dressed in a polka dog bikini, tiny Bella was a runner-up at our dog swimsuit contest. She left the life jacket home. A Beagle previously known as “Ava” but now called “Bella” was among her competition.

* A white Akita at the Babylon Shelter came to Last Hope a few weeks later. Upon arrival a volunteer of Asian descent suggested the name “Sakura” because it means “cherry blossom.” “Sakura” was perfect for a Japanese breed rescued in the springtime. Soon after the Akita was adopted by a family who changed her name to- you guessed it- “Bella.” There are teens in this family. Twilight and teens seem to go together.

* A Yorkie had been left behind in an abandoned Babylon home that youths were using as a hang-out. Babylon Shelter named her “Pickles” in honor of another dog in a silly phone incident by an irate caller. The name fit this playful Yorkie pup. Pickles came to Last Hope on the Fourth of July, soon to be adopted by a volunteer who happened to rename her “Bella” because she said her grandchildren wanted the dog to have that name. Twilight fans, perhaps?

* “Indira,” can you imagine the rescue folks in West Virginia coming up with such a creative name for a Border Collie mix pup? I love this name because Indira is so “endearing.” She also has a strategic black dot on her forehead that makes her look as if she is wearing a Bindi dot which is a Hindu mark of beauty. She was adopted from Last Hope by a Northport family with several young kids. A few weeks ago when a volunteer delivered her to her new home, every window was decorated with a sign that said: “Welcome Home, Indira.” The pup is doing quite well, but the kids had trouble remembering her name so they changed it to something they wouldn’t forget. Indira is now learning to answer to the call name “Bella.” Go figure.

Wait a minute, “Bela” Lugosi was Dracula, long before there was a Twilight series.

An Adoption Sampler this week. (I promise there are no more Bellas.) Handsome “Elmer”, a Bluetick Hound/Cattle Dog between one and two years old is at the Last Hope Adoption Center, 3300 Beltagh Ave in Wantagh. Look at his gorgeous eyes! This mellow fellow was out of time at a KY pound. After a 16 hour transport, you wouldn’t believe how patient he was when we were setting up his bedroom at Last Hope. Call 631-946-9528 for more info.

This cat plea in Valley Stream comes from Nassau SPCA: Their person died about two months ago, a neighbor has been feeding these heartbroken cats, but this can’t go on forever. They need someone to bond to. This loving brother and sister have lived strictly indoors. Spayed and neutered, up to date on shots, they have spent their entire life together giving their love. They have to be adopted that way. Please open your heart and home to them. Call 516-356-2568 or email adopt@ncspca.us.

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