Cool Name of the Week: Louisa 28210

My family tends to give its cats very creative names—Miss Boo is our senior cat, and we lost our beloved Turkey earlier this summer. The dogs, however, are all given names that would be perfectly fine for humans. We have Matty, a massive pointer-beagle mix; my parents' beagle-retriever mix is Sasha; and my sister's new puggle puppy has one of the most popular human-girl names, Zoe. (I'm thinking there will be future meetings between my nephews' girlfriends named Zoe and this little dog.) But perhaps one of the most beloved pets in our family was my parents' previous dog, another beagle-retriever mix named Phoebe.

Phoebe was named after Lisa Kudrow's legendarily ditzy character on Friends—but the dog was anything but an airhead. She was kind and gentle with our kids (even when they were rough on her in her old age), and extraordinarily sly—one of her claims to fame was snatching half of the homemade carrot cake my husband and brother pulled together for my mom's birthday. And she was a truly fantastic companion to my parents, right up until her sudden death a couple of years back.

Not that I'm saying that you should name your daughter after my parents' dog—but it's a pretty fantastic name. It's a Greek name that means bright, shining one, and is currently ranked number 310 in the U.S. for girls—making it a choice that's classic and beautiful, but not too popular. That is, unless you plan to spend plenty of time in the UK in the future—Phoebe is a top 100 name there. It's also a nice alternative to the ultrapopular Chloe and Zoe names.

Phoebe pairs beautifully with either the short, one-syllable middle names—Jane, Gray, Paige—or with longer, multisyllable names—Elizabeth, Olivia, Eleanor. And it makes a nice pet name, too.

What do you think of Phoebe? Would you consider it for your daughter?

Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/