Dr. Anthony Fauci's name and influence have spread to another part of popular culture after inventing a new dating phrase.
Americans have grown accustomed to seeing the face of the country's leading infectious disease expert over the past year and a half, and have become relied on his counsel and guidance during the pandemic.
As a result, the name of the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has entered the pet name lexicon, with many people adopting Fauci as a pet.
The trend began in 2020 with just a few dogs and cats named after Dr. Fauci, which coincided with an uptick in pet adoptions as individuals found themselves at home more frequently during lockdown.
Jennie Garth, star of Beverly Hills, 90210, was an early trend-setter when she disclosed in September 2020 that she had rescued a Chihuahua named Dr Fauci.
By November 2020, several reports had acknowledged the rise in animals named after the 80-year-old, with pet name inspiration site Rover revealing that Fauci had received a “honourable mention” on its most recent list, while other pandemic-inspired names like Covid and Rona had grown by 1,159 percent and 69 percent, respectively.
Pet insurance website Trupanion observed an upsurge in pets called Fauci, as well as after Covid-related phrases, in December, while former congresswoman Donna Shalala's dog Fauci went viral the same month after he amusingly interrupted a live TV appearance.
Ms Shalala, who knows the actual Dr Fauci, recently told The Washington Post that she chose the name for her rescue dog, which she adopted in July 2020: "He's resilient with a smiling face" and that he "shares Tony's personality entirely." He only barks at really big dogs.”
Megan Broom, who has an Anatolian shepherd-Great Pyrenees mix named after Dr. Fauci, told the outlet that she chose the name out of respect for the infectious disease expert and because the dog had "mask markings, which I thought was a charming coincidence."
According to Hilary Mauro, who owns a Cavapoochon puppy named Fauci and told The Washington Post that “everyone cracks up and loves the name” when she walks the dog in Manhattan, the name not only makes pet owners happy, but also has a good affect on people who come into contact with the creatures.
She did, however, mention that when she walks her dog in Florida, she gets other reactions, such as "eye rolls and impatient sighs."
Dr. Fauci, the president's senior medical adviser, told the publication that he isn't particularly flattered by his fluffy namesakes, but that he finds the phenomenon "interesting."
"I don't think it's flattering," he remarked, adding, "I simply think it's kind of intriguing."
Dr. Fauci then admitted that having the love of any dog, regardless of its name, is "wonderful," and that he is considering buying another.
“Having a dog who only wants to adore you is fantastic during these stressful times,” he remarked.
While he affirmed that naming a dog "is fully up to you," he did point out the oddity of his name being used in some circumstances, such as for the name of a female chicken.
“It gets weirder by the moment,” he said after the outlet informed him of the poultry’s moniker.