Dog in a dress

Please stop calling my dog a boy.

I realize her name is “Kit,” which could be a boy name (Kit Carson) or a girl name (Kit De Luca) or a cat name (Hello Kitty) or a Jedi name (Kit Fisto).

But my dog is a girl, and it’s jarring when someone looks at her and says, “Here, boy!”

Technically, my dog is an “it.”

By strict grammar rules, only people get to use the pronouns “he” and “she.”

But it doesn’t feel right to refer to this cute, cuddly creature who lives in my house and sheds hair all over my furniture as “it.”

So my dog is a “she.”

My cat is a “he.”

The cat’s name is John, but I usually just call him “Cat,” or sometimes “Cat-Cat!” if I’m standing at the back door trying to call him into the house.

That never works, by the way.

Cats seem to transcend gender and any other attempts at labeling.

My mother used to have a cat she had just named “Cat.” This drove my husband crazy, and finally my mother gave in and named the cat “Cleo.” (Yes, the cat was a girl.)

When I was young, my pets didn’t have people names. They had pet names: Peppi, Poppi, Muffin (male dog, female dog, female cat, respectively). A little gender confusion was understandable.

In the years since, most of my pets have had people names.

When our family was young, we had a trio of dogs named Ruth, Stanley and Bob.

My husband is also named Bob.

I had the dog first.

There were occasions for confusion. Late one night, when Bob (the dog) was making an unholy racket in the backyard, I stumbled out of bed, flung open the back door and hollered, “Bob, stop it!”

From the bedroom, Bob (the man) startled awake and advised me to stop yelling before the neighbors called the cops.

And that’s how “Bob” became “Bobdog.”

Children were born, and dogs passed on. Bobdog was the first of the trio to go. Then Stanley. Then, after 13 good and loyal years, Ruth.

When it was finally time, we went to the shelter to adopt a new dog. We met a cute, skittish puppy who was small and black like our old dog. The shelter had named her … Baby Ruth.

It was kismet.

We changed her name to Kit.

Over the years, Kit has earned many nicknames. When she’s in trouble I call her by her full name, Kit Kittredge (after my daughter’s favorite American Girl doll). When she’s being particularly cute I call her “Doodledog.”

Every now and then I call her “Kit-Kat,” which only confuses the whole naming/gender/species issue even more.

These days, when I need to speak to one of the animals in the house, I usually just call them “Kit-Cat-Whichever-One-You-Are.”

Just like I did with my kids when they were little.

Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or


Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.