Adoptable Dogs and Cats With Halloween Names and Wearing Costumes
Halloween, once the bastion of children carrying paper bags and pillowcases, has become one of America’s biggest holidays. Why not use the popularity of a $76 billion party to introduce animal adoption to the public?
Not only did Lee County Pet Services start naming them after ghostly specters, they started dressing their pooches in Halloween costumes.
On a recent afternoon, 8-year-old Princess, a muscular American Staffordshire Terrier mix, fell into the role of a sunflower. The good-natured dog sat pleasantly while a photographer took her picture.
“There’s literally nothing too corny about getting them adopted,” said Karen Fordiani, public information specialist for Lee County Pet Services.
Photos of costumed dogs are a good attempt to grab people’s attention. Fordiani dressed Gretchen, a Belgian malinoise, as a pumpkin. A 10-year-old cat has donned a bumblebee costume.
“Does it get them adopted? No,” she said, but “it gets people into the building and they fall in love with their personality.”
Ultimately, the animal’s charm is what gives them a home, she said. The costumes allow would-be pet owners to walk through the doors where they can meet the rest of the rescue animals.
As for Halloween names like Dracula, Elvira, Casper and Morticia, it’s the staff having fun, Fordiani said.
“The names are just something different,” Fordiani said.
Last year, the shelter welcomed just under 11,000 pets, Fordiani said. Not all animals stay at the shelter, she said. Some are sent to pet shelters, while others are claimed by their owners. About 1,176 dogs were adopted while 970 cats found forever homes last year. This year there have been about 7,500 animals cared for with about 2,100 adoptions, she said.
With so many animals coming through the door, staff are getting creative with naming them, Fordiani said.
“Around football season we use football names,” Fordiani said, adding that sometimes staff will also name cats and dogs after popular TV shows.
It all depends on what makes the animal more appealing, said Daniel Christenbury, public information officer for Collier County. In fiscal year 2018, approximately 1,630 cats were rescued and 855 resulted in adoptions. During that time, 1,863 dogs have been rescued and around 686 have been adopted, he said.
“It’s also something fun for the staff that helps them connect with the animals,” he said.
At least six Collier County kittens have been christened with holiday-themed names, including Trick, Treat, Jack O’ Lantern, Sabrina and Boo (OMG that’s so cute!).
Collier’s Halloween kittens were taken in, so it was up to the foster family to give them names, Christenbury said.
Jordan Savoie said she raised the kittens for about six weeks from when they were three weeks old. And because Halloween is her favorite time of year (Halloween is the best), it was only natural for her to gravitate toward silly, festive names.
“Halloween is coming up and I was just hoping it would give them a better chance of being adopted,” Savoie said.
Trick and Treat are twins, so the name came naturally to her, Savoie said.
Her favorite kitten was an orange tabby she named Candy Corn.
“It looked like a little piece of candy corn,” Savoie said.
Christenbury said the staff like to have fun with names all year round and during the Christmas holidays people may come across dogs and cats named after different reindeer.
“We used to have a shelter technician who was a huge Harry Potter fan,” Christenbury said. “We had a bunch of Hermiones and any orange cat could be a Weasley of some sort.”
For the uninitiated, Hermione is Harry Potter’s best friend and the heroine of the series. Weasley is the surname of Harry Potter’s other best friend, Ronald, whose entire family is redheaded.
There are a few non-holiday-themed puns among the group: Purrkins and Purrcy, two neutered black short-haired domestic males, and Cleo Catra, a tortoiseshell female domestic short-haired tabby. There’s even a brown tabby named Frida Pawlo, a play on the famous Mexican artist. (PLEASE someone adopt Frida Pawlo).
“It’s a unique job to have,” Christenbury said. “Any chance you can to lighten the mood helps everyone. There’s a lot of compassion at the shelter and compassion fatigue is a real thing, so little things like this to keep the environment lightweight are good to do.”
Namely, if animal shelter workers are looking for other holiday-themed names, we offer these suggestions:
- Christmas: Nick, Santa, Kringle, Elf, Rudolph, Frosty (or Prancer, Dasher, Vixen, you get the picture.)
- Valentine’s Day: Lovey, Sweetie, Honey, Precious, Whitman (you know, like chocolates.)
- July 4: Liberty, Bell, Franklin, Hancock (or any signer of the Declaration of Independence).
And here’s another suggestion for our readers: foster or adopt a pet.
Chihuahuas are no longer in the Lee County Dog Database, so maybe the Halloween names worked? And Candy Corn the kitten has been removed from Collier’s. But there are still plenty of dogs and cats available at shelters across the county and even more at rescues in Southwest Florida.
And if you don’t like the name given to your pet, you can always change it. But if you adopt Boo, please keep the name.
Lee County is reducing adoption fees for the entire month of November. Adult dogs over six months old can be adopted for $30. Cats and kittens can be adopted for $10. To visit leelospets.com to see animals available for adoption.
Collier County celebrates Barktoberfest in October with a $25 dog adoption fee. To see the cats and dogs available, go to colliergov.net/vdas/adoptapet.cfm