Sneaky the snake
A pet's death is never easy, and when 7-year-old Cyrus Ballo of Federal Hill lost two hermit crabs within a week, he was devastated. He'd taken great care of them, after all.
His parents, Joanna Pi-Sunyer and Michael Ballo, wanted to continue fostering their son's caring personality and started thinking about a new pet.
Cyrus wanted a turtle, but his mom and dad weren't so sure about the amount of care turtles need to stay happy and healthy. So, after thinking for a little while, they welcomed a corn snake to their home and named him Sneaky, after the song "Sneaky Goes Dancin'."
Ever since, Sneaky has offered entertainment to the whole family. He lives in a tank in Cyrus' bedroom, and Cyrus and his dad enjoy holding and playing with the snake several times a week.
He's about 20 inches long, as thick as a magic marker, and has smooth, soft skin that is warm -- thanks to his heat lamp. There's nothing slimy about this snake.
Family members also take bets on when Sneaky will shed his skin, which he does in private. No one has yet caught him in the act, but they know he's getting ready when his skin turns dull, and they find his old skin on his bedding or draped over the tree limb in his tank.
They enjoy watching him wolf down his frozen mice, which the family purchases at a local pet store. And yes, he swallows them whole.
To have your pet -- including hamsters, snakes, horses, guinea pigs and the like -- considered for Collared, email information to email@example.com.
-- Kim Fernandez (Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun photo /May 13, 2013)
What's in a name? According to the records of Veterinary Pet Insurance, Inc. (VPI), quite a lot, and the top dog and cat names for 2012 reveal some interesting tidbits about pet owners.
VPI recently sorted their database of more than 485,000 pet names by popularity. The biggest trend they saw was that the top five cat and dog names were also top on Babycenter.com's list of 100 most popular baby names of the year. At the same time, traditional dog names -- think Fido or Fuffy -- trended toward the bottom of the list or slid off completely.
VPI spokesman Curtis Steinhoff says he thinks the name trends are "testament of the bigger trend of pet owners viewing their pets as members of the family."
I suspect residual fur on our couches and beds could also testify to that.
Without further ado, the top names for dogs are:
And for birds and exotic pets:
On the flip side are the top 10 most unusual names, which can be seen at wackypetnames.com
The Labragator's real name -- Molly -- was a tribute to our chocolate lab, Mocha, whose name was Molly when we adopted her. I'd love to hear where your pet's name came from -- please comment below.