Why do humans keep pets? To
answer this question, we could simply think of the reasons why we personally
have had pets in our lives. We find them cute, we get a rush of endorphins when
interacting with them, a feeling that can be quite addictive. Many of us keep a
pet as a form of company, they are something we can love and care for, and they
usually love us back. Sometimes we keep a pet for protection, like a guard dog.
In some cultures, certain types of pets are kept as a form of status symbol.
Historically, this was often the case with exotic animals. Certain breeds of
animals, like dog breeds, are quite expensive and often only people with a
large amount of disposable income can purchase these animals as pets. There are
even competitions for showcasing these special breeds, dog shows are one form
of competition that comes to mind, where pet owners can win a monetary prize
and public recognition. Considering pets to be a part of the family is not a
new phenomenon. There are countless photographs in archives where pets, such as
cats, dogs, or ponies, are included in family portraits. Generations upon
generations of people have loved their pets like family.
Animals have also been used as
mascots, for commercial/advertising purposes, or for boosting morale.
Advertisers have been using cute animals to sell products for many years. One
example of an animal mascot we have in our archives is photographs of the
mascot for the Woodstock Advanced Driving and Maintenance School (Woodstock
A.D.M.S.), a dog owned by commanding officer Lt.-Col. R.B. Crouch. The dog was
a Great Dane named “Blitz” and along with acting as a mascot, worked as a guard
dog for Crouch. The A.D.M.S. was a militia training camp constructed on the
Woodstock Fairgrounds during the Second World War, which offered training on
driving and repairing military vehicles, as well as provided “battle
landscapes” which mimicked the conditions soldiers were facing in Europe. The
school also coordinated and hosted a variety of public events in support of
civilian recruitment and the Victory Loan Campaign. Crouch’s dog appears in
several photographs from the A.D.M.S. photo albums we have in our holdings.