Pets in History

During a serious conversation, Uncle Z insists that pets have always been peripheral to the human society. “They have never meant much,” he declares. However, the history of the humanity and its achievements are obliged to not only brilliant scientists, politicians, and military leaders. In fact, pets have taken an active part in the development of the humanity. They have always provided people with food and raw materials, helped on the farm, and defended against enemies. Furthermore, animals have influenced the evolution of people because they became hunters with the help of pets. Some major historical facts and events prove this statement. The goal of this essay is to analyze the role of pets in human history.

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Even in prehistoric times, people begun to breed animals in captivity to use them in agricultural work, hunting, and means of transportation (Essig 24). In addition to practical assistance, communication with animals enriches the human spirit and even cures of diseases (Essig 34). Since ancient times, animals have played an important role in the cultural development of the individual (Wasik and Murphy 45). In fact, the ancient Egyptians valued cats. Thousands of cats were kept in temples for religious purposes and were mummified after death. Despite efforts to prevent the export of Egyptian cats, domestic cats gradually spread to other countries in the region (Wasik and Murphy 53). In Europe, a spread of the cats was due to the Romans who appreciated this animal as a fighter of rodents. In some ancient civilizations, dogs also had a cultural significance, usually being associated with death and burial rituals. These early associations between dogs and death gradually transformed into a belief that a dog could save or prevent a person from death (Kyrlansky 57). In ancient Greece, dogs were kept in the temples of healing because people thought that they helped healers to treat diseases (Kyrlansky 61). The rise of the pet’s status for rulers and the nobility dates back to the ancient Egypt. The frescoes of that era depicted moments when pharaohs were holding a pet. Furthermore, many generations of Chinese emperors kept dogs and adult dogs even had their servants. Besides, the Greek and Roman nobility also consisted of passionate lovers of pets. Therefore, pets have contributed to the cultural development of the humanity.

In fact, pets have always played an important role in military affairs throughout history. For example, without horse Bucephalus Alexander the Great probably would not have received the honorary nickname of “The Great.” The famous horse played a significant role in his life and helped to carry out all the most important campaigns of the commander (Kalof 43). The life of Bucephalus is covered with legends and speculation, but historians agree that this horse was real. Furthermore, Cyrus was the only elephant who survived in the famous Hannibal's Carthaginian march across the Alps. Hannibal often took this elephant in his campaigns and this animal helped to survive the hardships of the Alpine campaign of Hannibal, the most important of which were hunger, cold, diseases, and violent battles with the hill tribes (Kalof 56).

Besides the great military campaigns, pets have contributed to the preservation of many people’s lives. Some of them have become a part of the history of the humanity forever. Carrier pigeon Cher Ami made a great contribution to the US Army in France during the First World War. During the bloody battles, the British troops kept pigeons for the exchange of essential information. The pigeon brought 12 important messages in 1918 and his last flight was performed during the Battle of Argon (Kalof 85). The pigeon was seriously wounded in the chest, eye, and leg, but a brave pet was able to fly to a destination and to save lives of 200 people (Kalof 94). Another historical example of pet’s importance is the actions of Siberian husky Balto. This pet is the most famous dog in the United States. Enormous resilience and sense of smell made this dog a true national hero. In 1925, the village of Nome in Alaska had a diphtheria epidemic (Kalof 97). The delivery of a drug by aircraft was not possible because of the storm and driving dog sleds became the only vehicles that could cover the distance. The cargo team led by Balto carried out the last and the most difficult section of the route. Dogs almost died while crossing the river, but thanks to the intuition and perseverance of Balto, the drug was safely delivered. Therefore, the position of Uncle Z is not truthful and prudent because the historical evidence proves the fact that pets have always been an essential element of the humanity’s life during its existence and development.

Uncle Z argues that pets have always been a minor element of the humanity’s development. However, after people tamed animals, they have become companions in many types of human activity. In fact, pets have played an important role in the human evolution and the first activities necessary for the life provision. Besides, pets have contributed to the cultural and spiritual development of the humanity. In ancient Greece and China, pets occupied the honorable place in the society. People created many frescos and performed different rituals with animals. Besides, pets played an important role in military campaigns of Hannibal and Alexander the Great. Furthermore, pets have provided important assistance in emergencies and saved lives of thousands of people. Therefore, Uncle Z’s statement about pets is incorrect because they have always played an important and changing role in human history.

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