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Annie’s Mailbox: Friend’s choice of pet’s name upsetting

Thu., Oct. 13, 2011

Dear Annie: A few years back, my father, “Peter,” died after a long and awful illness. Within a year of his death, my best friend decided to adopt a dog. She told me she was naming the dog after a character in one of her favorite TV shows, “Peter.”

I was surprised by her choice, especially since it’s not a common name for a pet. It apparently didn’t occur to her that it might make me uncomfortable. At the time, I didn’t say anything, fearing it would seem self-involved and overly sensitive of me. However, when my mother heard about the dog’s name, she was quite offended. My brother was also not happy about a dog sharing a name with a beloved family member so soon after his death.

I find that I still resent my friend’s choice. Too much time has passed for me to say anything now, but I am wondering whether we are right to be unhappy about this. Was it inappropriate for my friend to give her dog the same name as my recently deceased father? Or is this OK since she claims to be naming it after a completely different person? – Confused

Dear Confused: Did your friend address your father by his first name? If not, the connection may not have been as obvious to her as it was to you. Or you could choose to believe that she was trying to honor your dad. And of course, it’s equally possible that she is simply obtuse and insensitive. People can name their pets what they wish, and you can’t help how you feel about it. However, since this still bothers you after so many years, you may as well mention how much it upset you. We suspect she hasn’t a clue.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by , longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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