I have been a pet owner all of my life. Shortly after my bhirth my grandparents bught a Cocker Spaniel and Pudgie became my first, About the time i was 5 I also had a cat - a very large male Maine Coon that I promptly named Suzie. I have no idea why but he was big and tough. He looked just like this one. We moved to California just before my 10th birthday.
Fast forward to today - my brood includes two tuxedo cats and a Basset hound - collie mix - Stretch, Willie and Ginger. The cats are name after my favorite baseball players Willie McCovey (Stretch) and Willie Mays. Lynn named Ginger literally the first time she saw her come out of the pet carrier.
Cats are interesting - they let us think we are in charge and do whatever they please. They can be very affectionate but only on their terms. Dogs, on the other hand, by nature are loyal, loving and very much attuned to the mood of their masters.
The internet is flooded with videos of soldiers returning home after long periods away and their pets joy at their return is obvious. Dogs grieve and mourn the loss of loved ones - animal and human. They are amazing companions and great sources of comfort. This I know from experience.Dogs can also prevent loneliness - this too I know from firsthand experience. I freely admit I will always have a dog. Doing so insures I will always have a friend.
Now there are myriad other animals that serve as pets to folks. A friend of moine in North Dakota raises pidgeons. I have known bird lovers that keep Macaws, Cockatiels, love birds and more. Snakes are also somewhat popular but frankly I cannot imagine snuggling up to one - ditto iguanas.
Pets are family members to their owners - and I concur. Here are mine -