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And the most common pet name in Australia is......Bella.

The first time I met my dog, she had a different name. At the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, a no-kill shelter for lost, abused and abandoned animals, I was introduced to Ruckus.

I thought this name was terrible.

For a start, she was timid, shy and – I thought – incredibly pretty. Scruffy but pretty. She had big brown eyes, full of fear and stories I would never know. What should we call her? I asked my husband. “Bella” he said. “Because she’s so pretty.”

He’s chosen the names of most of our children so he has form in this department.

Bella she became.

Our other dog, also a rescue from Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, also had a name when we met him: Harry. But it suited him so he kept it.

Harry and Bella enjoy going to the park and it was there I discovered how bog standard common my pretty new dog’s name actually was.

If you go to a dog park and call out “Bella”, you will be run over by responsive female dogs rushing towards you. My dog will be among the pack.

It turns out that Bella is the most common dog’s name in Australia. It’s also the top cat’s name. Do cats even come when they’re called? Do they need names?

I’ve never owned a cat. These questions are genuine.

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Bella is also apparently a popular name for rabbits, according to a survey about pets from rent.com.au.

The other trend I've noticed is the blurring of lines between people names and pet names. My daughter's name is on the cat list. There are quite a few Coco dogs at my local park, too. Then there's the inverse: not long ago I heard a woman call "Harry! Bella!" and I wondered why she was calling my dogs until I realised she was calling her children. I know children called Bear and Buddy and Diesel and Missy and Wolf and Chuck and Misty and....Bella. In fact I can think of children I know with every name on both the dogs and cats lists.

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And my childhood dog - Jason - also happens to share a name with my husband.

So are people being named after animals or vice versa?

My favourite thing to do when I'm bored is to think about people names and apply them to dogs. Like a dog called Graham. Or Phillip. Or Rebecca. Or Angela. Or Gary. Or Margaret. Or Sandra. Or Peter.

The survey also reveals the most popular names for pets named after food or drinks and it could be argued that many of these names are also being used for kids.

Once I started reading about what people call their pets, I found it hard to stop. Are you wondering what the most popular names for fish are?

Fish
Goldy
Bruce
Lovey
Nigel
Whitey
Mr Fishy
Sashimi
Rainbow
Fish Fish

How about lizards?

Spike
Lizzy
Bubbles
Buddy
Dash
George
Lilly
Lizard
Milo
Shadow

And here are the most popular name for birds:

Buddy
Charlie
Blue
Cheeky
Peaches
Baby
Birdy
Coco
Princess
Angel

If you have a pet, it's time to share its name. How common are you really?

"When did dogs become equal to humans?”

Tags: animals-2 , families , lifestyle , real-life
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