Pet insurer says Lynnwood bulldog has a winning name

Sir Knuckles da Dragon has a name that mirrors his mojo.

The 15-month-old English bulldog from Lynnwood is 50 pounds of hot-blooded rambunctious royalty.

He was selected as top dog for “Wackiest Pet Name” from Veterinary Pet Insurance Company’s roster of 500,000 dogs and cats nationwide. He beat HotRod Whoofington by a nose.

Jeffrey Un put careful thought into naming his obstinate pooch with big paws, a pushed-in snout and jowls that drool while chewing the remote control.

“I wanted something unique,” said Un, who works at Boeing, where pet insurance by VPI is a voluntary employee benefit.

About 3,400 companies nationwide offer VPI to employees, often as a payroll deduction. It’s a way to beef up benefits packages beyond the traditional perks to woo employees.

Un didn’t know it also included being in the database for VPI’s annual wacky name contest for insured pets.

He got the fawn pup a year ago from a breeder in Redmond.

“It’s the first dog I ever had,” said Un, a 29-year-old bachelor raised in Everett. “I have a hard time committing to stuff.”

The naming process started with Knuckles.

Not fancy enough. It needed a manly prefix, but not too gentlemanly. “He’d head-butt everything.”

Sir Knuckles still wasn’t enough.

“He would shake his head like he was spraying fire.”

Enter the Dragon.

The dog has spark all right. Sir Knuckles da Dragon has already been to the ER.

“He was running in circles. He ran into the fireplace,” Un said. “It was Saturday night, and I had to take him to the emergency animal hospital. He needed a couple of staples and a cone. Insurance covered the majority.”

It could be worse. Much worse.

Pets are accident prone by nature. They eat sewing needles, get their tails sucked up the vacuum cleaner and chase cars.

VPI-insured pets are eligible for the Hambone Award in honor of a dog that got somehow got stuck in a refrigerator and ate a Thanksgiving ham while waiting for someone to find him (the dog sustained a mild case of hypothermia).

A recent Hambone winner was a French bulldog that scarfed down a bunch of cookies then jumped in the pool at a Fourth of July party. Pierre was treated for shock and excessive gas. True story.

Then there was the Seattle cat that jumped from an 11th floor window and lived to purr about it.

VPI is among the companies competing to insure pets, including hamsters, lizards, birds, pot-bellied and other exotic sorts. According to the American Pet Products Association, about $55 billion annually is spent on pets, with a chunk of that on health care.

Insurance plans cover illnesses, injuries, accidents and routine care. Policies come with varying deductible and maximum options, as with human plans.

Premiums cost about $10 to $40 a month. The amount kicked in by the employer varies.

You might want to crunch numbers if your employer isn’t pet-friendly. A 2011 study by Consumer Reports concluded that most pet owners are better off not buying insurance and instead putting money in an emergency “kitty.”

Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com.

Wackiest Pet Names, 2013

Dogs: Sir Knuckles da Dragon, HotRod Whoofington, Captain Underpants, Stinky Monkey, Taco Salad, Dallas Cowdog, Hunk Heartbreaker, Ice Bingbing, Potato Chip and Bunny Money Dogg.

Cats: Cheeto Burrito, Fuzzbutt, Mama Pajama, Lady Fluffington, Nut Job, Stinky Baby, Doctor Whiskers, Rum Tum Tugger Too, Fatness and Pizza Guy.

Previous winning names: Pickle Von Corndog, Purr Diem, Doogie Schnauzer M.D., Ozzy Pawsbourne, Chew Barka and Pico de Gato.

For more names, go to www.wackypetnames.com.

For more information about VPI: www.petinsurance.com

Source: Veterinary Pet Insurance

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