The Emergence of Modern Pet-Keeping

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Nowadays few people feel the need to conceal their affection for their pets. On the contrary, many contemporary English and American house- holds unashamedly include dogs and cats, and the owners of particularly elegant or surprising pets are inclined to flaunt them as symbols of dis- criminating taste or conspicuous consumption. The economic importance and social respectabil- ity of pet-keeping is further attested by the flour- ishing institutions—from animal hospitals to breed clubs to the pet food industry—that service pets and their owners. A great deal of our society’s time, energy, and money is now devoted to satis- fying pets’ and pet owners’ needs, physical and otherwise (Kellert, 1983; Serpell, 1986).

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  • Harriet Ritvo

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