I recently had a pet-related discussion with two three-year-old twins. They introduced me to their cat, who very patiently put up with the underarm grab and lift by one of its proud owners. The other twin explained with a very serious tone, "(Cat's Name) is our family." I understand completely.
God bless those patient and purring cats and loyal and loving dogs who kept us company when we were small. In one favorite snapshot in our family photo album, I'm wearing a sun suit and bonnet, squinting at the sun. Not far from my white, high-top toddler shoes lies our family's black Labrador Retriever, Muggs, keeping me under her gentle, watchful eye. In the field trial circuit, where she was a winner, she was known as Lady Muggins. To me, she was family.
Our pets occupy such and important place in our lives. They aren't stand-ins for people, or society. With their own special gifts they are grace notes in our lives. As such, they have earned and deserve their honored place in our homes and our lives as beloved members of our family.