Animal Attraction

Edith_layton2

Maya Missani, an enquiring reader, recently asked the Wenches about when the concept of pets for pet’s sake began, when the first animals were loved apart from their chores. I immediately burbled back an answer to the Wenches, and they Wenches said I should blog on. And so I shall!

Cats had been worshipped for eons.

Dogs, adored for centuries.

Medieval noblemen rode their favorite horses and wept if they were wounded. Dogs of War came with the Romans and never left Europe, where they became Dogs of Status. Falcons and gyrfalcons and all sorts or murderous birdies with talons were highly prized, even loved.

I don’t know when the concept of pets for pet’s sake began, but I imagine it was when the first wolf to stay the night in a human’s cave (without devouring the humans in it) had a litter, and the first wolflet licked a human hand (not just to get the taste of it.) Still, all that faithfulness is a sometime thing – at least for humans. Pussycats, horses and puppies have all been used for food when a human population is starving, because it’s plainly suicidal for starving people to think of what’s on their dinner plate as a pet. Even if peasants took their pigs into their huts for warmth during the winter, you can bet those same cuddly piggies were the springtime’s blue-plate specials. Tender sensibilities are something only the rich can afford. Rich humans have always loved dogs and cats, and left them un-et.

In fact, Western art has rarely portrayed a great ruler without his faithful dog or horse. Knights and their ladies are carved in stone on their tombs, their faithful hounds watching out for them through eternity at their feet. Museums are stuffed with portraits of royalty with their pets: sporting dogs, mastiffs and magnificent horses for the men, lap dogs for the ladies, and the kiddies with pretty ponies and huge protective hounds standing by them. After all, it took money to acquire and maintain a fragile mini-dog. A dog that could clearly do nothing but look pretty, and cost a fortune, was a sure sign of superiority, at least in the purse area. And it took lots more spare cash to feed and maintain a hulking doggie, or a pack of sporty ones. And as for the price of acquiring and maintaining a trained pure blooded horse or an aviary full of violent birdies? That’s status!

Cats mostly didn’t make it into tomb or portrait art. Possibly because they could earn their own way, and were common amongst the slum dwellers, farm folk and general peasantry. (Also because if a portrait of a lady showed her with a cat, the symbolism might be taken the wrong way.)

Regency folk were nuts about animals. Not quite as insane for them as their descendants the Victorians were, but obsessed, nonetheless. Gentlemen and ladies paraded through the parks with their status on leashes. A famous Regency era duchess had dozens of dogs roaming in her house. It was considered an idiosyncrasy. Regency era society adored eccentricities. (And it kept her husband very nicely away.)

Queen Victoria was mad for her dogs and cats. She had them large and small, and cats, as well. But she doted on Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, and Landseers (named for her favorite artist, who painted them.) And even now, Queen Elizabeth loves her pack of corgis.

Maya also asked: “What about the slow horses, cowardly dogs, and short-sighted falcons? Did anyone keep them because of their sweet personalities?”

Yes, Maya, I feel certain that cross-eyed falcons, cringing dogs and pokey horses were loved too. I’ve loved my share of mute canaries, craven pooches, and murderous kitties. The only thing is that I don’t understand is why animals bother to love and trust us, when surely they must know that we can kiss and cosset a parakeet and then sit down to a chicken dinner. Or why dogs and cats can sit serenely at our feet when the kitchen reeks of roasting animal flesh. I’m only glad that they do. Because though I’m not royalty, not by a looooong shot, I wouldn’t eat a kitty cat or a doggie if I were starving (I think.) (I hope.) After all, I’m not a faithful hound; I’m only human.

(I had a dog as a character in one of my books… or at least, the dog was an important part of the plot. Name the book – get the book. Daisy will be blindfolded, and she’ll choose one of the correct answers, and I’ll send the book on to the memory-gifted reader. ******** BIG OLD HINT ADDED!!!! Because I posted it last night when I was tired, and this morning I realize how hard it is to remember. OK. The doggie in question is on the cover. In the background. A big doggie too. There, now I feel better.)

80 thoughts on “Animal Attraction”

  1. I can’t think about having cat or dog for dinner. Yuk! They are better left to companions I think. I’m going to take a guess and say the book is Alas, My Love.

    Reply
  2. I can’t think about having cat or dog for dinner. Yuk! They are better left to companions I think. I’m going to take a guess and say the book is Alas, My Love.

    Reply
  3. I can’t think about having cat or dog for dinner. Yuk! They are better left to companions I think. I’m going to take a guess and say the book is Alas, My Love.

    Reply
  4. I can’t think about having cat or dog for dinner. Yuk! They are better left to companions I think. I’m going to take a guess and say the book is Alas, My Love.

    Reply
  5. I can’t think about having cat or dog for dinner. Yuk! They are better left to companions I think. I’m going to take a guess and say the book is Alas, My Love.

    Reply
  6. What a great blog! We shall never know about the earliest close friendships between animals and humans, because they took place in early prehistory. There is archaeological evidence of domestic dogs in human communities around 14,000 years ago, but DNA studies indicate that dogs became distinct from wolves more like 100,000 years ago – and that was probably around the time that they first domesticated us. Oops, I mean, we domesticated them. Or do I… 🙂
    By the time we get to ancient Egypt, a mere 4000 years ago or so, we find carvings and paintings of named companion dogs: when you give someone a name, you are regarding him as a person, a unique individual. And we all know how the ancient Egyptians admired and respected cats. From the Roman period, we have lovely things like a beautiful and expensive marble gravestone to a pet hound, inscribed with a touching epitaph, and representations of dogs sleeping on their people’s bed.
    Can you tell that I am currently in the middle of writing the sequel to my book on Horses – this time on Dogs!
    Incidentally, I love it when novelists introduce good, well-drawn animal characters into their stories, and I’m sure that many other readers feel the same.

    Reply
  7. What a great blog! We shall never know about the earliest close friendships between animals and humans, because they took place in early prehistory. There is archaeological evidence of domestic dogs in human communities around 14,000 years ago, but DNA studies indicate that dogs became distinct from wolves more like 100,000 years ago – and that was probably around the time that they first domesticated us. Oops, I mean, we domesticated them. Or do I… 🙂
    By the time we get to ancient Egypt, a mere 4000 years ago or so, we find carvings and paintings of named companion dogs: when you give someone a name, you are regarding him as a person, a unique individual. And we all know how the ancient Egyptians admired and respected cats. From the Roman period, we have lovely things like a beautiful and expensive marble gravestone to a pet hound, inscribed with a touching epitaph, and representations of dogs sleeping on their people’s bed.
    Can you tell that I am currently in the middle of writing the sequel to my book on Horses – this time on Dogs!
    Incidentally, I love it when novelists introduce good, well-drawn animal characters into their stories, and I’m sure that many other readers feel the same.

    Reply
  8. What a great blog! We shall never know about the earliest close friendships between animals and humans, because they took place in early prehistory. There is archaeological evidence of domestic dogs in human communities around 14,000 years ago, but DNA studies indicate that dogs became distinct from wolves more like 100,000 years ago – and that was probably around the time that they first domesticated us. Oops, I mean, we domesticated them. Or do I… 🙂
    By the time we get to ancient Egypt, a mere 4000 years ago or so, we find carvings and paintings of named companion dogs: when you give someone a name, you are regarding him as a person, a unique individual. And we all know how the ancient Egyptians admired and respected cats. From the Roman period, we have lovely things like a beautiful and expensive marble gravestone to a pet hound, inscribed with a touching epitaph, and representations of dogs sleeping on their people’s bed.
    Can you tell that I am currently in the middle of writing the sequel to my book on Horses – this time on Dogs!
    Incidentally, I love it when novelists introduce good, well-drawn animal characters into their stories, and I’m sure that many other readers feel the same.

    Reply
  9. What a great blog! We shall never know about the earliest close friendships between animals and humans, because they took place in early prehistory. There is archaeological evidence of domestic dogs in human communities around 14,000 years ago, but DNA studies indicate that dogs became distinct from wolves more like 100,000 years ago – and that was probably around the time that they first domesticated us. Oops, I mean, we domesticated them. Or do I… 🙂
    By the time we get to ancient Egypt, a mere 4000 years ago or so, we find carvings and paintings of named companion dogs: when you give someone a name, you are regarding him as a person, a unique individual. And we all know how the ancient Egyptians admired and respected cats. From the Roman period, we have lovely things like a beautiful and expensive marble gravestone to a pet hound, inscribed with a touching epitaph, and representations of dogs sleeping on their people’s bed.
    Can you tell that I am currently in the middle of writing the sequel to my book on Horses – this time on Dogs!
    Incidentally, I love it when novelists introduce good, well-drawn animal characters into their stories, and I’m sure that many other readers feel the same.

    Reply
  10. What a great blog! We shall never know about the earliest close friendships between animals and humans, because they took place in early prehistory. There is archaeological evidence of domestic dogs in human communities around 14,000 years ago, but DNA studies indicate that dogs became distinct from wolves more like 100,000 years ago – and that was probably around the time that they first domesticated us. Oops, I mean, we domesticated them. Or do I… 🙂
    By the time we get to ancient Egypt, a mere 4000 years ago or so, we find carvings and paintings of named companion dogs: when you give someone a name, you are regarding him as a person, a unique individual. And we all know how the ancient Egyptians admired and respected cats. From the Roman period, we have lovely things like a beautiful and expensive marble gravestone to a pet hound, inscribed with a touching epitaph, and representations of dogs sleeping on their people’s bed.
    Can you tell that I am currently in the middle of writing the sequel to my book on Horses – this time on Dogs!
    Incidentally, I love it when novelists introduce good, well-drawn animal characters into their stories, and I’m sure that many other readers feel the same.

    Reply
  11. LOL, Edith! What a delightful way to start the day. 🙂
    In your rambling through history, you’ve pinpointed the reason for the current microdog craze–those very small dogs who are hauled everywhere, dressed in garments whose cost would outfit a third world child for a year, and taken to doggie spas and bought doggie jewelry: status. Anyone who goes that far has waaaay too much money and time on their hands.
    One seldom sees cats used as fashion accessories. They’re too contrary, I imagine. It’s part of their charm. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  12. LOL, Edith! What a delightful way to start the day. 🙂
    In your rambling through history, you’ve pinpointed the reason for the current microdog craze–those very small dogs who are hauled everywhere, dressed in garments whose cost would outfit a third world child for a year, and taken to doggie spas and bought doggie jewelry: status. Anyone who goes that far has waaaay too much money and time on their hands.
    One seldom sees cats used as fashion accessories. They’re too contrary, I imagine. It’s part of their charm. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  13. LOL, Edith! What a delightful way to start the day. 🙂
    In your rambling through history, you’ve pinpointed the reason for the current microdog craze–those very small dogs who are hauled everywhere, dressed in garments whose cost would outfit a third world child for a year, and taken to doggie spas and bought doggie jewelry: status. Anyone who goes that far has waaaay too much money and time on their hands.
    One seldom sees cats used as fashion accessories. They’re too contrary, I imagine. It’s part of their charm. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  14. LOL, Edith! What a delightful way to start the day. 🙂
    In your rambling through history, you’ve pinpointed the reason for the current microdog craze–those very small dogs who are hauled everywhere, dressed in garments whose cost would outfit a third world child for a year, and taken to doggie spas and bought doggie jewelry: status. Anyone who goes that far has waaaay too much money and time on their hands.
    One seldom sees cats used as fashion accessories. They’re too contrary, I imagine. It’s part of their charm. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  15. LOL, Edith! What a delightful way to start the day. 🙂
    In your rambling through history, you’ve pinpointed the reason for the current microdog craze–those very small dogs who are hauled everywhere, dressed in garments whose cost would outfit a third world child for a year, and taken to doggie spas and bought doggie jewelry: status. Anyone who goes that far has waaaay too much money and time on their hands.
    One seldom sees cats used as fashion accessories. They’re too contrary, I imagine. It’s part of their charm. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  16. I’m waaaay too big a fan of dogs. *grin* As my ancient Pit Bull will attest (as she lounges on her own settee after an organic meal from the specialty butcher in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, LOL!).
    England’s National Portrait Gallery put out a wonderful little book called THE FACE IN THE CORNER. It’s a great study of the history of pets in portraits. I think I got if from them for 5 pounds.

    Reply
  17. I’m waaaay too big a fan of dogs. *grin* As my ancient Pit Bull will attest (as she lounges on her own settee after an organic meal from the specialty butcher in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, LOL!).
    England’s National Portrait Gallery put out a wonderful little book called THE FACE IN THE CORNER. It’s a great study of the history of pets in portraits. I think I got if from them for 5 pounds.

    Reply
  18. I’m waaaay too big a fan of dogs. *grin* As my ancient Pit Bull will attest (as she lounges on her own settee after an organic meal from the specialty butcher in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, LOL!).
    England’s National Portrait Gallery put out a wonderful little book called THE FACE IN THE CORNER. It’s a great study of the history of pets in portraits. I think I got if from them for 5 pounds.

    Reply
  19. I’m waaaay too big a fan of dogs. *grin* As my ancient Pit Bull will attest (as she lounges on her own settee after an organic meal from the specialty butcher in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, LOL!).
    England’s National Portrait Gallery put out a wonderful little book called THE FACE IN THE CORNER. It’s a great study of the history of pets in portraits. I think I got if from them for 5 pounds.

    Reply
  20. I’m waaaay too big a fan of dogs. *grin* As my ancient Pit Bull will attest (as she lounges on her own settee after an organic meal from the specialty butcher in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, LOL!).
    England’s National Portrait Gallery put out a wonderful little book called THE FACE IN THE CORNER. It’s a great study of the history of pets in portraits. I think I got if from them for 5 pounds.

    Reply
  21. OK, I remember a Layton novella in a Christmas anthology with what was recognizably a Bernese Mountain Dog pup as a very important character. (I once had a Bernese Mountain Dog myself; he was exceptionally loveable, even for a dog!) I don’t remember the name of the story, but if I was at home I could pick the anthology right off the shelf by my bed. Great story, too; one of my all-time favorites.
    There’s something fascinating about the idea of living with an animal. Have you ever noticed how yawns are catching even from species to species? We Are Not Alone!

    Reply
  22. OK, I remember a Layton novella in a Christmas anthology with what was recognizably a Bernese Mountain Dog pup as a very important character. (I once had a Bernese Mountain Dog myself; he was exceptionally loveable, even for a dog!) I don’t remember the name of the story, but if I was at home I could pick the anthology right off the shelf by my bed. Great story, too; one of my all-time favorites.
    There’s something fascinating about the idea of living with an animal. Have you ever noticed how yawns are catching even from species to species? We Are Not Alone!

    Reply
  23. OK, I remember a Layton novella in a Christmas anthology with what was recognizably a Bernese Mountain Dog pup as a very important character. (I once had a Bernese Mountain Dog myself; he was exceptionally loveable, even for a dog!) I don’t remember the name of the story, but if I was at home I could pick the anthology right off the shelf by my bed. Great story, too; one of my all-time favorites.
    There’s something fascinating about the idea of living with an animal. Have you ever noticed how yawns are catching even from species to species? We Are Not Alone!

    Reply
  24. OK, I remember a Layton novella in a Christmas anthology with what was recognizably a Bernese Mountain Dog pup as a very important character. (I once had a Bernese Mountain Dog myself; he was exceptionally loveable, even for a dog!) I don’t remember the name of the story, but if I was at home I could pick the anthology right off the shelf by my bed. Great story, too; one of my all-time favorites.
    There’s something fascinating about the idea of living with an animal. Have you ever noticed how yawns are catching even from species to species? We Are Not Alone!

    Reply
  25. OK, I remember a Layton novella in a Christmas anthology with what was recognizably a Bernese Mountain Dog pup as a very important character. (I once had a Bernese Mountain Dog myself; he was exceptionally loveable, even for a dog!) I don’t remember the name of the story, but if I was at home I could pick the anthology right off the shelf by my bed. Great story, too; one of my all-time favorites.
    There’s something fascinating about the idea of living with an animal. Have you ever noticed how yawns are catching even from species to species? We Are Not Alone!

    Reply
  26. Thank you for the information on pets through history.
    I think it is your novella The Hounds of Heaven in A Regency Christmas that has a dog as an intregal part of your story.

    Reply
  27. Thank you for the information on pets through history.
    I think it is your novella The Hounds of Heaven in A Regency Christmas that has a dog as an intregal part of your story.

    Reply
  28. Thank you for the information on pets through history.
    I think it is your novella The Hounds of Heaven in A Regency Christmas that has a dog as an intregal part of your story.

    Reply
  29. Thank you for the information on pets through history.
    I think it is your novella The Hounds of Heaven in A Regency Christmas that has a dog as an intregal part of your story.

    Reply
  30. Thank you for the information on pets through history.
    I think it is your novella The Hounds of Heaven in A Regency Christmas that has a dog as an intregal part of your story.

    Reply
  31. Ah, Edith, what a lovely history, except for the et-animules part. “G”
    I wonder if the need for unquestioning love and devotion isn’t part of the basis for our passion for pets? I can imagine lonely children in rural areas taming alligators and chickens and all sorts of animals so they might have friends. Even pets have pets sometime. The need for love is profound.

    Reply
  32. Ah, Edith, what a lovely history, except for the et-animules part. “G”
    I wonder if the need for unquestioning love and devotion isn’t part of the basis for our passion for pets? I can imagine lonely children in rural areas taming alligators and chickens and all sorts of animals so they might have friends. Even pets have pets sometime. The need for love is profound.

    Reply
  33. Ah, Edith, what a lovely history, except for the et-animules part. “G”
    I wonder if the need for unquestioning love and devotion isn’t part of the basis for our passion for pets? I can imagine lonely children in rural areas taming alligators and chickens and all sorts of animals so they might have friends. Even pets have pets sometime. The need for love is profound.

    Reply
  34. Ah, Edith, what a lovely history, except for the et-animules part. “G”
    I wonder if the need for unquestioning love and devotion isn’t part of the basis for our passion for pets? I can imagine lonely children in rural areas taming alligators and chickens and all sorts of animals so they might have friends. Even pets have pets sometime. The need for love is profound.

    Reply
  35. Ah, Edith, what a lovely history, except for the et-animules part. “G”
    I wonder if the need for unquestioning love and devotion isn’t part of the basis for our passion for pets? I can imagine lonely children in rural areas taming alligators and chickens and all sorts of animals so they might have friends. Even pets have pets sometime. The need for love is profound.

    Reply
  36. In some Christian religions, the first week in October is “Bless the Animals” week, where people take their pets to church to be officially blessed. Tomorrow (Saturday) is the the Big Day for most group blessings. I think it is a nice tribute to St. Francis of Assisi and to the pets who enrich our lives.
    There are many animals beyond the usual cats and dogs that will allow themselves to assume “pet” status. I once had a dear chicken who followed me around, nattering affectionately to me and putting up with my teaching her tricks.
    My cats snooze on my desk and keep me company, and occasionally make editorial comments. My dog has a bed near my desk where she spends all her time when I’m on the computer. Even my horse gets in on the friendship act. I used to have a female Boxer that was absolutely devoted to my horse–the dog made a hole in the fence big enough to stick her head through, and spent hours communing with the horse, who returned her affection. I have pictures of them French kissing. In this case, it was the worldly female dog who led my innocent gelding astray. Once she introduced Tempest to the joys of French kissing, they spent many a happy interval licking each other’s tongue.

    Reply
  37. In some Christian religions, the first week in October is “Bless the Animals” week, where people take their pets to church to be officially blessed. Tomorrow (Saturday) is the the Big Day for most group blessings. I think it is a nice tribute to St. Francis of Assisi and to the pets who enrich our lives.
    There are many animals beyond the usual cats and dogs that will allow themselves to assume “pet” status. I once had a dear chicken who followed me around, nattering affectionately to me and putting up with my teaching her tricks.
    My cats snooze on my desk and keep me company, and occasionally make editorial comments. My dog has a bed near my desk where she spends all her time when I’m on the computer. Even my horse gets in on the friendship act. I used to have a female Boxer that was absolutely devoted to my horse–the dog made a hole in the fence big enough to stick her head through, and spent hours communing with the horse, who returned her affection. I have pictures of them French kissing. In this case, it was the worldly female dog who led my innocent gelding astray. Once she introduced Tempest to the joys of French kissing, they spent many a happy interval licking each other’s tongue.

    Reply
  38. In some Christian religions, the first week in October is “Bless the Animals” week, where people take their pets to church to be officially blessed. Tomorrow (Saturday) is the the Big Day for most group blessings. I think it is a nice tribute to St. Francis of Assisi and to the pets who enrich our lives.
    There are many animals beyond the usual cats and dogs that will allow themselves to assume “pet” status. I once had a dear chicken who followed me around, nattering affectionately to me and putting up with my teaching her tricks.
    My cats snooze on my desk and keep me company, and occasionally make editorial comments. My dog has a bed near my desk where she spends all her time when I’m on the computer. Even my horse gets in on the friendship act. I used to have a female Boxer that was absolutely devoted to my horse–the dog made a hole in the fence big enough to stick her head through, and spent hours communing with the horse, who returned her affection. I have pictures of them French kissing. In this case, it was the worldly female dog who led my innocent gelding astray. Once she introduced Tempest to the joys of French kissing, they spent many a happy interval licking each other’s tongue.

    Reply
  39. In some Christian religions, the first week in October is “Bless the Animals” week, where people take their pets to church to be officially blessed. Tomorrow (Saturday) is the the Big Day for most group blessings. I think it is a nice tribute to St. Francis of Assisi and to the pets who enrich our lives.
    There are many animals beyond the usual cats and dogs that will allow themselves to assume “pet” status. I once had a dear chicken who followed me around, nattering affectionately to me and putting up with my teaching her tricks.
    My cats snooze on my desk and keep me company, and occasionally make editorial comments. My dog has a bed near my desk where she spends all her time when I’m on the computer. Even my horse gets in on the friendship act. I used to have a female Boxer that was absolutely devoted to my horse–the dog made a hole in the fence big enough to stick her head through, and spent hours communing with the horse, who returned her affection. I have pictures of them French kissing. In this case, it was the worldly female dog who led my innocent gelding astray. Once she introduced Tempest to the joys of French kissing, they spent many a happy interval licking each other’s tongue.

    Reply
  40. In some Christian religions, the first week in October is “Bless the Animals” week, where people take their pets to church to be officially blessed. Tomorrow (Saturday) is the the Big Day for most group blessings. I think it is a nice tribute to St. Francis of Assisi and to the pets who enrich our lives.
    There are many animals beyond the usual cats and dogs that will allow themselves to assume “pet” status. I once had a dear chicken who followed me around, nattering affectionately to me and putting up with my teaching her tricks.
    My cats snooze on my desk and keep me company, and occasionally make editorial comments. My dog has a bed near my desk where she spends all her time when I’m on the computer. Even my horse gets in on the friendship act. I used to have a female Boxer that was absolutely devoted to my horse–the dog made a hole in the fence big enough to stick her head through, and spent hours communing with the horse, who returned her affection. I have pictures of them French kissing. In this case, it was the worldly female dog who led my innocent gelding astray. Once she introduced Tempest to the joys of French kissing, they spent many a happy interval licking each other’s tongue.

    Reply
  41. Whew, that was kinda hard. I think it must be Lady of Spirit. I’m a new Edith reader so my Edith library is unfortunately small, but the Word Wench archives were my friend. 🙂

    Reply
  42. Whew, that was kinda hard. I think it must be Lady of Spirit. I’m a new Edith reader so my Edith library is unfortunately small, but the Word Wench archives were my friend. 🙂

    Reply
  43. Whew, that was kinda hard. I think it must be Lady of Spirit. I’m a new Edith reader so my Edith library is unfortunately small, but the Word Wench archives were my friend. 🙂

    Reply
  44. Whew, that was kinda hard. I think it must be Lady of Spirit. I’m a new Edith reader so my Edith library is unfortunately small, but the Word Wench archives were my friend. 🙂

    Reply
  45. Whew, that was kinda hard. I think it must be Lady of Spirit. I’m a new Edith reader so my Edith library is unfortunately small, but the Word Wench archives were my friend. 🙂

    Reply
  46. how cool, the wenches took up my question!
    but edith’s post sort of illustrated why i asked it: almost all of the examples she gave (in the beginning, at least) are of animals who are at least partly loved because of the good job they do (guarding, transport, hunting, even status-lending) meaning they exist in their owner’s household primarily for their function and only secondarily for themseves. The question came up in the first place because of how often it seems in this new millenium that these two elements are reversed – pets provide company first, and have a useful function only second or even not at all. The ‘proof’, as it were, has to do with edith’s description of how in the past, if the going got rough, sentiment went out the window and the animal would be sacrificed if need be for the good of the human. I think we can all recall modern cases where the reverse choice was made and a pet’s welfare placed before a human’s – Leona Helmsley’s will being one of the more outrageous examples.

    Reply
  47. how cool, the wenches took up my question!
    but edith’s post sort of illustrated why i asked it: almost all of the examples she gave (in the beginning, at least) are of animals who are at least partly loved because of the good job they do (guarding, transport, hunting, even status-lending) meaning they exist in their owner’s household primarily for their function and only secondarily for themseves. The question came up in the first place because of how often it seems in this new millenium that these two elements are reversed – pets provide company first, and have a useful function only second or even not at all. The ‘proof’, as it were, has to do with edith’s description of how in the past, if the going got rough, sentiment went out the window and the animal would be sacrificed if need be for the good of the human. I think we can all recall modern cases where the reverse choice was made and a pet’s welfare placed before a human’s – Leona Helmsley’s will being one of the more outrageous examples.

    Reply
  48. how cool, the wenches took up my question!
    but edith’s post sort of illustrated why i asked it: almost all of the examples she gave (in the beginning, at least) are of animals who are at least partly loved because of the good job they do (guarding, transport, hunting, even status-lending) meaning they exist in their owner’s household primarily for their function and only secondarily for themseves. The question came up in the first place because of how often it seems in this new millenium that these two elements are reversed – pets provide company first, and have a useful function only second or even not at all. The ‘proof’, as it were, has to do with edith’s description of how in the past, if the going got rough, sentiment went out the window and the animal would be sacrificed if need be for the good of the human. I think we can all recall modern cases where the reverse choice was made and a pet’s welfare placed before a human’s – Leona Helmsley’s will being one of the more outrageous examples.

    Reply
  49. how cool, the wenches took up my question!
    but edith’s post sort of illustrated why i asked it: almost all of the examples she gave (in the beginning, at least) are of animals who are at least partly loved because of the good job they do (guarding, transport, hunting, even status-lending) meaning they exist in their owner’s household primarily for their function and only secondarily for themseves. The question came up in the first place because of how often it seems in this new millenium that these two elements are reversed – pets provide company first, and have a useful function only second or even not at all. The ‘proof’, as it were, has to do with edith’s description of how in the past, if the going got rough, sentiment went out the window and the animal would be sacrificed if need be for the good of the human. I think we can all recall modern cases where the reverse choice was made and a pet’s welfare placed before a human’s – Leona Helmsley’s will being one of the more outrageous examples.

    Reply
  50. how cool, the wenches took up my question!
    but edith’s post sort of illustrated why i asked it: almost all of the examples she gave (in the beginning, at least) are of animals who are at least partly loved because of the good job they do (guarding, transport, hunting, even status-lending) meaning they exist in their owner’s household primarily for their function and only secondarily for themseves. The question came up in the first place because of how often it seems in this new millenium that these two elements are reversed – pets provide company first, and have a useful function only second or even not at all. The ‘proof’, as it were, has to do with edith’s description of how in the past, if the going got rough, sentiment went out the window and the animal would be sacrificed if need be for the good of the human. I think we can all recall modern cases where the reverse choice was made and a pet’s welfare placed before a human’s – Leona Helmsley’s will being one of the more outrageous examples.

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