Gigianna La Femme

Gigianna La Femme, 9-year-old Min Pin at Second Chance Humane Society, recognizes picking a pet name may be difficult, but it can also be fun. (Courtesy photo)

Seeing hundreds of nameless animals coming through the door each year, Second Chance Humane Society Shelter staff always needs to generate new names. I get there can be pressure when choosing a pet’s new name, which needs to positively reflect the pet’s unique attributes, while steering clear of aliases like Bruiser, Cyclops, Satan or Snarky, which do not increase our chances of being adopted.

Sometimes the staff use seasonal names, for example, June is a great time of year for flower names like Daisy, Violet, Poppy or Iris. I am going to give Geranium a hard no though. My name is Gigianna La Femme, but you can call me Gigi. I feel my name aptly reflects my small stature, while also capturing my rather iconic nature. I definitely needed a strong name revealing the stamina required of me to survive nine years in a puppy mill.

If you do a search for the most popular names in 2020 you will find girl names like Luna, Bella and Sadie dominating the uppermost choices, while popular boy names are Charlie, Buddy and Max. I can assure you that if you look at the top names over the past decade those names remain on top. They are good solid pet names for sure, but it may be time to freshen things up.

I feel that unique names such as Purr-tzel, Papichulo, Smeagol, Reya Sunshine, JayPeg, Jimmy Chews or Beef Shreddington can grab an adopter’s attention. Some may like celebrity-based names such as Katy Purry, Snoop Dogg, George Clawny or Punk Floyd.

Artistic names give pets some flair. How about Monet, Frida, Warhol, Renoir or Georgia O’Kitten? And there are always literary names so people think your pet is smart like Kafka, Camus, Austen, Yeats, Pablo, Hemmingway or Angelou. Some of my favorite names are fun food names like Dumpling, Crumpet, Lambchop, Sashimi, Matzoh or Meatball.

This Pet Column is making me hungry. Maybe sticking with classics like Sadie and Buddy is a good idea after all. But then again, "L.L. Bean" was a shelter pet who truly benefited from his unusual moniker. After being featured on a local news spot in Wisconsin, where he had been living in a shelter for over a year, news of his plight travelled all the way to Freeport, Maine, and he was adopted by an L.L. Bean employee and now lives happily in Maine. 

Whatever you decide to name your pet make it something you can remember so you don’t resort to “Hey, dog” when calling your dog. And if you find that Einstein doesn’t really fit your dog’s personality, you can always go with a more appropriate nickname later, like Butthead.

Truth is, if you adopt me you can call me anything you want. I am a 9-year, 8-pound Min Pin wonder of sweetness despite my hard life. I am timid at first, but warm up quickly because there is nothing like love to make a girl feel good. I will want a home with a fenced yard so I can lie in the sun and not worry about needing to be anywhere else. My mouth may be a little crooked, my tongue may hang out, but I am a lovely, healthy girl fresh from a dental cleaning, vaccinations and spay, just needing a second chance at life.

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties for over 26 years. Call 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer or other services. View our shelter pets and services online at