Four years ago, Steve and Sharon Ward noticed a dirty and emaciated stray cat hanging around their Perry Hall house. They'd begun leaving food outside for another stray cat, and the second one soon caught their attention.
"She was very skittish," says Steve. "She would peek her head around the corner but always run if we tried to approach her." They dubbed the kitty Mystery Cat, and when the first cat stopped coming around, Mystery Cat kept eating outside the Wards' home. That went on for six months.
"She'd hide in the bushes at the edge of our yard and when she heard us open our sliding door, she would emit a very loud, clear meow because she knew she was about to be fed," says Steve. After a lot of debate, the Wards decided to adopt her if she'd come in, which turned out to be easier than anyone imagined.
"On New Year's Day 2010, we opened the sliding door," says Steve. "She ran in the house, scurried right under our couch, and hasn't been outside since." As it turned out, a neighbor had kicked Mystery Cat out after deciding she wasn't wanted anymore, turning her out to fend for herself instead of taking her to a shelter.
All's well that ends well, though. Mystery Cat has made herself quite at home, playing with toys, enjoying games of fetch with a favorite rubber ball, and cuddling on the couch with her humans, which is a far cry from begging for food outside. And the humans in the house have a message for their beloved pet's former owner.
"To that neighbor," says Steve, "All we can say is 'Thanks.'"
To have your pet - including hamsters, snakes, horses, guinea pigs and the like - considered for Collared, email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Kim Fernandez, for The Baltimore Sun
(Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun /August 26, 2014)
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:
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