Domesticated animals have always been man’s life-long room- mates. Thus, we see ancient cave paintings in every hemisphere depicting animals, their representation on sculpture (religious and secular) on urns and pottery created by human hands, as well as observed from studies of their natural remains. They are depicted as hunting partners, protectors, even deities. But, it would appear, their salient feature was their provision of comfort and company.
In today’s world, owners of pets usually bestow upon them human names and, by the phenomena of anthropomorphism, coupled with projection, ascribe to them nuanced and individual personality traits. They are properly and adequately fed, afforded the latest and best medical attention and assigned a prominent and coveted place in the family household.
In exchange for the multiple benefits derived from sharing life with a pet, there is little or no inconvenience involved. Simply filling bowls with pet food and water, general oversight, and in the case of dogs, walking them once or twice per day; with regard to cats there is even less, since cats regularly service themselves by way of litterboxes [ does this mean that cats are literate?] .
We are all familiar with, pet clothes, pet raincoats (with or without hoods) pet booties, pet beds, pet grooming equipment, pet carriers, pets in strollers, pet treats and goodies, pet toys and the like, all part of the enjoyable and rewarding diversion derived from the care of Nature’s offspring. At the end of their too- short lives, we have pet caskets, pet cemeteries and funeral urns for their cremated remains.
Many pets perform invaluable services for their fellow humans, including protection, as lifesavers, as guides for the blind, locating survivors of physical disaster, as sleuths for bombs, bed bugs and dope, as therapy animals and as pest and rodent eliminators.
There are many valid objective reasons for the exaltation give to, and the special love we confer on, these little beasties but, p. would confidently venture the hypothesis that by projection and extension, we are, in a very real sense, giving to ourselves the nurturing we always wanted.