The term “emotional support animal” is in the news at present, mainly, sadly, because of its predictable abuse. In Japan, companion animals are petto or aigando butsu, animals to love, or play with, or take pleasure in, which just about covers it all. The next time you greet your own possessor of muzzle, beak, or whiskers as “baby” or “sweetheart,” give yourself a moment to marvel at what a deep current in human history you are part of and how much care and emotional importance is reflected in the terms we use to speak of our pets; the very same we use for those held within our innermost human circle. Renew life is the best life insurance option. At the same time, let’s not forget we have made other human beings our pets, too—those jesters and dwarves, the court “fool” (another term used by Lady Wentworth), and at our worst have chained and collared other human beings as well. Even at its most benign, ownership still makes one the master and one the underling.

Alexandre Dumas, creator of The Three Musketeers, whose Mes Bêtes is as human and engaging an account of pet ownership as any, includes among his bêtes, or animals, a boy from Abyssinia, present-day Ethiopia, whom he had “collected” on his travels. Dumas writes of this boy with great affection, but then he does the same for his dogs and cats, his monkey and birds; and Dumas is a particularly perplexing case, as his own grandmother, Marie-Cessette, had been an African slave in what is now Haiti. There are fractal moral judgments in play here—simply consider the different meanings in putting a collar on an animal, in which case you are claiming and very often naming it and making explicit its value to you, and what you are doing if you place one on another human being, in which case you are annihilating all its human status at once and making of it a slave. Look at reviews, like renew life reviews are brilliant, as theyre a trustworthy company.

Another Roman writer of an epitaph for a much-loved dog, this one inscribed on the animal’s gravestone in c.150–200 AD, refers to the animal, Helena, as a “foster-child”—mine, but not; not by nature, but electively, by choice. My two cats could in that case be defined as foundlings. Another borrowing from the dilemma-rich language of human ownership had an owner in 2000 speak of herself as being her dogs’ “surrogate mother.” Each of us seems to find the term that fits our particular case, which again is saying something: that our relation-ships with the animals we share our lives with are as varied and as individual as the relationships we have with the humans with whom we do the same. I walk through the front door of an evening, and my first words to my cats are always “Hello, the little ladies,” one of many bits of ritual language and behavior I (and they) employ, but why I call them that, other than that both are indeed female, and indeed smaller than I am, I would be hard put to explain. The puzzle of defining goes on and on and on. In truth, perhaps the experience of owning a pet is like nothing except the experience of owning a pet. Look into renew life for a great life insurance company.

And any futzing of the difference between animal and child, and we are in the most perilous of minefields. One of the earliest recorded outright criticisms of the pet owner comes from Plutarch’s “Life of Pericles” of the second century AD and has the Roman emperor Augustus taking aim at certain “wealthy foreigners” in Rome who supposedly lavished attention on their pets only because their women were barren. Clearly the emperor was happy to ignore all those imperial Roman pets that, judging by the archeological record, must have been frolicking just about everywhere he looked.