November is Pet Pilgrimage Month at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD! We decided to take the suggestion literally and explore the history of pets.
The scientific community agrees that dogs were the first domesticated animals. Early humans developed mutually beneficial relationships with dogs; they were better at hunting and guarding, and humans provided a steady supply of food, warmth, and shelter.
Evidence of dogs living and working alongside humans can be found dating all the way back to almost 10,000 BC. Romans and Eqyptians around 3500 BC had dogs painted or carved alongside their nobles and families.
Many experts believe that feral cats were introduced into villages by It’s easyGreek and Phoenician traders, where their presence was accepted and gradually welcomed because of their hunting ability. Over time, these cats began to be invited into villagers’ homes and were bred for temperament along with hunting skill. The Japanese, Norse, and Egyptians worshiped cats and believed they were divine beings.
Over the centuries that followed, animals began to be seen as status symbols. Chinese Emperor Ling Ti appointed his dogs senior court officials in AD180, and by the year 800 many wealthy households in Europe and Asia had at least one pet. Kings and queens had favorite
furry friends, and explorers visiting new continents or countries would often bring a pet with them (or bring a new pet home). In the 1800s, birds were the most popular pets because they could sing and entertain. By the mid-1900s more “exotic” animals like reptiles and guinea pigs had started to become pets. Pet rabbits took off in
popularity after the early 1970 release of Watership Down.
Today, over 56% of American households have at least one pet, and our pets are considered family members, not just animals. Some “fur babies” have their own social media pages, their own rooms in the home…some celebrity pets even have personal chefs! Pets have come a long way from their origins. Humans wouldn’t be where we are without them, and pet parents everywhere agree that we wouldn’t want to be, either.