The 10 Most Popular Dog Names of 2018

iStock/SteveDF
iStock/SteveDF

Just like with baby names, a number of dog names spike in popularity each year, as many of them are pop culture-inspired. And this year was no exception, with popular movie franchises playing a big role in the names we picked for our pooches.

According to data collected by ​Banfield Pet Hospital, the world's largest veterinary practice, which mined the records of more than 2.5 million of its pupper patients, the Marvel movies were super influential in 2018. Black Panther-inspired names such as Nakia, Okoye, and Shuri have quadrupled in popularity in the past year, while Avengers: Infinity War led to 66 percent more cats and 37 percent more dogs being named ​Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy created a 30 percent increase in dogs being named Star Lord.

This year's ​Solo: A Star Wars Story also saw a lot of cats be christened Han Solo, while Lando became a popular moniker for dogs and cats alike (up 15 percent from last year for canines).

It even seems as if pet owners have taken a side in the Cardi B and Nicki Minaj feud, as Banfield found there was six times more cats and three times more dogs with the name Cardi B in 2018 versus 2017.

However, the top 10 names of 2018 didn't include any of these movie or celebrity names, but instead are pretty sensible ones! Banfield's list of the top 10 most popular dog names for 2018 are as follows:

1. ​Charlie

2. Coco

3. Daisy

4. Bailey

5. Lola

6. Molly

7. Sadie

8. Toby

9. Sophie

10. Bear

Meet LiLou: The World's First Airport Therapy Pig

Kseniia Derzhavina/iStock via Getty Images
Kseniia Derzhavina/iStock via Getty Images

There's a new reason to get to the airport early—you might run into a therapy pig who's there to make your trip a little easier. As Reuters reports, LiLou the Juliana pig is a member of San Francisco International Airport's "Wag Brigade," a therapy animal program designed to ease stress and anxiety in travelers.

Aside from her snout and potbelly, LiLou can be recognized by her captain's hat and red "hoof" polish. She spends the day with guests who are happy to take a break from the pressures of traveling. She might comfort them by posing for a selfie, playing a song on her toy keyboard, or offering them a head to pet.

After bringing joy to people's day, LiLou goes home to her San Francisco apartment where she lives with her owner, Tatyana Danilova. In her free time, she goes on daily walks and snacks on organic vegetables. She even has her own Instagram account.

Airports around the world are embracing the benefits therapy animals can bring to customers. The Wag Brigade program at San Francisco includes a number of dogs, and earlier this year, the Aberdeen Airport in Scotland debuted its own "canine crew" of dogs trained to make travelers feel safe and happy. Therapy miniature horses have even been used at an airport in Kentucky. According to the San Francisco Airport, LiLiou is the world's first airport therapy pig.

To see LiLou turn on the charm, check out the video below.

[h/t Reuters]

Sssspectacular: Tree Snakes in Australia Can Actually Jump

sirichai_raksue/iStock via Getty Images
sirichai_raksue/iStock via Getty Images

Ophidiophobia, or fear of snakes, is common among humans. We avoid snakes in the wild, have nightmares about snakes at night, and recoil at snakes on television. We might even be born with the aversion. When researchers showed babies photos of snakes and spiders, their tiny pupils dilated, indicating an arousal response to these ancestral threats.

If you really want to scare a baby, show them footage of an Australian tree snake. Thanks to researchers at Virginia Tech, we now know these non-venomous snakes of the genus Dendrelaphis can become airborne, propelling themselves around treetops like sentient Silly String.

That’s Dendrelaphis pictus, which was caught zipping through the air in 2010. After looking at footage previously filmed by her advisor Jake Socha, Virginia Tech Ph.D. candidate Michelle Graham headed for Australia and built a kind of American Ninja Warrior course for snakes out of PVC piping and tree branches. Graham observed that the snakes tend to spot their landing target, then spring upward. The momentum gets them across gaps that would otherwise not be practical to cross.

Graham next plans to investigate why snakes feel compelled to jump. They might feel a need to escape, or continue moving, or do it because they can. Two scientific papers due in 2020 could provide answers.

Dendrelaphis isn’t the only kind of snake with propulsive capabilities. The Chrysopelea genus includes five species found in Southeast Asia and China, among other places, that can glide through the air.

[h/t National Geographic]

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