Four-year-old Saryne Delperdang couldn’t pronounce the name of her favorite fairy tale character when her family went to the county animal shelter to pick out a puppy.
Cinderella simply became Bella, her father, Chase, explained, when they took the chocolate Labrador retriever home from the Pima Animal Care Center.
This is just one story of how the name “Bella” became so popular with Tucson-area dog owners.
An Arizona Daily Star analysis of Pima County dog-license data shows 1,114 dogs named Bella, the most popular name in the county database.
Bella means “beautiful” in Spanish, but at least one other inspiration for the name likely comes from the “Twilight” movies popular with teens.
Behind Bella are more traditionally popular names, including Daisy, Lucy and Molly for female names.
The top name for male dogs is Buddy, followed by Max, Charlie and Rocky.
Jose Ocaño, a volunteer coordinator for the animal shelter, said staffers do their best to stay away from reusing the most popular names.
“We really want the dogs to stand out, so we try not to repeat names and we really try, when possible, to pick a name that will match a dog’s personality,” he said.
However, with more than 24,000 animals coming in the shelter every year, staffers often use naming tricks to give animals their temporary names.
This week, for example, the staff focused on ‘90s television sitcoms, Ocaño said.
Those who visit the PACC this weekend could find a group of “Friends” waiting for them — Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross.
But if you maybe would prefer a Frasier, Woody or Radar, shelter workers assure that once you claim your new canine companion it will happily learn a new name to go with its new home.