Karen Lancaster moved to Baltimore from New York about 5 and a half years ago, shortly after her two elderly cats passed away. One of her first stops when she got to town was the MD SPCA shelter on Falls Road, where she spotted a black-and-white kitten perched regally in his litter box (of all places), and fell instantly in love.
Toby, as she named the little cat, settled in nicely to Lancaster's Roland Park apartment along with his adopted feline sister, Lily, and the family has been a solid unit ever since.
"I put videos of birds on my iPad," says Lancaster. "One is 19 minutes long, and the two of them will sit there and watch the entire thing." Toby spends much of the summer on the apartment balcony, watching birds and playing what appear to be organized games of hide-and-seek with a neighborhood squirrel, who hops over from a nearby evergreen for playtime.
"If I sleep too late, Toby will jump on my bed and pat my nose until I wake up," says Lancaster. He also loves chasing the beam of a laser pointer around the apartment and walking across any drying oil paintings his mom leaves out (as a result, she is forced to do most of her work in a studio rather than at home).
"The people at the MD SPCA told me they found him on the steps of the B&O Railroad Museum, all by himself," she says. "I think about that a lot. If somebody hadn't seen him, he wouldn't be in my life. I would have been so sorry to have missed out on him."
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 /July 22, 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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