Defining Pets in the 18th and 21st Centuries: The Tail End
Pets in the Past and Present
While the ideas and practices of pets and pet-keeping have certainly changed over the centuries, they have also primarily stayed the same. This leads to the larger question of why have pets remained cultural fixtures in the modern era beginning in the eighteenth century? Because pets are liminal meaning they “exist in the liminal position between socially constructed categories of person/being and that of nonperson/object”, they function to evaluate and discuss other socio-cultural issues, such as those of the economy, government, social hierarchies, gender identity and roles, social norms and mores, and kinship. Additionally, with the rise of and dependence upon technology and vast informational, social, and economic networks, pets speak to what is perhaps an innate human desire to connect to another living being, whether in the eighteenth or twenty-first century.
 Redmalm, David. Pet Grief: When is Non-Human Life Grievable? The Sociological Review, 63, 2015, pp. 19-35, 2.
1Dixon, John. “Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch with His Dog after Thomas Gainsborough.” Wikimedia Commons, 17 Dec. 2012, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dixon_-_Henry_Scott,_3rd_Duke_of_Buccleuch.jpg.
2Pearce, Gregory B. “Gemma Holding Hercules.” Mendon, Utah, 22 Apr. 2018.