As mentioned before and even though it may sound like a cliché, dogs are truly “mankind’s best friend”. For one, dogs were the first domesticated species of animals that were adopted as pets, probably dogs or wolves, given their innate noble and protective nature. It is natural for most species of animals that live in herds, packs or flocks, like humans, to stick to their own kind and not mingle all that much with other species, although it is not unheard of. In some situations, animals have even been known to have adopted younglings of other species. One could argue that animals also adopt or keep pets, but perhaps this merely has to do with an inner feeling on part of the animals to nurture and parent defenseless younglings, despite their species.
So, are humans the only animals in their natural habitat that keep pets? Pet keeping as such can be said to be reduced exclusively to humans. There is documented proof that there are many species of animals to keep pets, such as apes keeping cats as “pets”; although this has not happened in a natural setting but in instances of captivity instead. There are many other instances when interspecies relationships have been observed to develop. Arguably, this has nothing to do with pet keeping, but with friendship instead. So, is pet keeping in humans related to friendship too, or is this a selfish practice? It is important to be able to make a distinction between adoption, friendship and pet keeping.
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