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In Natick, no Spot, no Lassie, no Fido; Bailey's the one

Posted by Tom Coakley  August 26, 2009 08:00 AM

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NATICK — See Spot run? Not in Natick. At least not according to the town's list of licensed dogs. Though you might see Spots.

Lassie won’t warn Timmy or any other residents of trouble at the old mill, but perhaps Lacie or Lacey could.

There’s no Fido. However, in the age of the all-important credit score, there is a FICO in his place.

Other historically popular names for “man’s best friend” – such as Patches, Fluffy, Rex and Pluto – barely make the list of 2,555 currently licensed dogs in Natick, while Rover is excluded entirely, according to records from the town clerk’s office.

Instead, topping the town’s list of most popular dog names, is Bailey with 44, followed by Lucy with 36, Molly (or Mollie) with 31, Maggie (or Maggie Mae) with 29, Max (or Maxx) with 28, and a tie between Sadie and Chloe (or Chloe Ann) with 26.

Natick resident Lizzy Garvey, 16, and her parents Hal and Marti did not know until recently why Lizzy’s brother Brian named their golden retriever Bailey when the dog joined the family some nine years ago. As it turns out, Brian, now 30, got the name from one of his favorite beverages – Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur.

Seven-year-old Natalie Hailer's dog is also named Bailey after the Irish Cream liqueur because the now 5-year-old cockapoo did not respond to his first name, Duke; when the Hailer family of Natick was coming up with a new name, the dog's color reminded Natalie's mother, Helen, of the beige-colored drink.

The Garvey family also did not realize how popular the name is locally.

“I think I’ve heard Bailey once, on a [dog food] commercial,” Lizzy Garvey said.

Natick resident Elizabeth Yobaccio said she couldn’t remember what made her come up with Bailey, or if there was any particular reason why she chose the name, for her 10-year-old shiatsu.

“I don’t know, but I love it. I might use it again,” she said.

Rounding out Natick’s top 10 are Buddy (or Buddie) with 23, Jake with 22, and Brady and Daisy each with 21.

Beyond the most popular list, other trends seem apparent around town.

Local sports teams – namely the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots – are well-represented.

There are seven dogs named Fenway, and seven more named Remy, including one Remmy. There are also dogs named after former Sox stars Pesky, Yaz, Manny and Pedro.

For the Patriots, Natick has 21 dogs named Brady and five named Bruschi.

Beer brands also seem to be a fitting choice for a dog name. There are four Stellas in town, two Guinnesses and a Corona.

Nearly the entire Seinfeld cast is represented with four Georges, three Kramers, a Jerry, two Newmans, but no Elaine.

Other recognizably-named hounds in the town include Barney Frank, Rocky Balboa, Napoleon, Mozart, Ikea, Kobe, Hendrix and a pair of Chewbaccas.

Natick is also home for the aptly named Dog, and don’t forget Me Too.

The most popular dog names in Natick are fairly similar to those reported in a previous Globe story about Wellesley and Newton.

The top three for Natick and Wellesley are identical. Newton’s top canine is Lucy, which at 103 is the most common name overall in the three towns, followed by Bailey at 101.

There are 2,707 dogs registered in Newton and 2,701 in Wellesley.

Bailey, Lucy, Max, Daisy and Maggie are in the top 10 for all three communities and in the top 10 nationwide.

The country’s most popular dog – and cat – name last year was Max, according to the Veterinary Pet Insurance, which analyzed its database of more than 466,000 insured pets – the nation’s largest – to find the most popular dog names of 2008.

Overall, the pet insurance company’s data indicates that classic pet names, such as Fido, have taken a back seat to "people names,” like Max.

In fact, some of the most popular dog names - Bella, Chloe, Sophie and Bailey - also rank among the Social Security Administration's most popular baby names.

South of Boston, the most popular dog names in Scituate and Hingham combined, also from a previous Globe story, are Sam (or Samantha, Sammy, and other variations), followed by Max, Lucy, Lily and Bailey.

Globe correspondent Ben Terris, staff reporter Matt Carroll and imaging manager Francis Bright contributed to this report.

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