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.

Three men and the Pattesons' pet dog Muma at the Patteson estate in Eastwood, Ontario, April, 1892.

Unidentified person holding a raccoon at a pet show in Innerkip, Ontario, 1963.

Ingrid Gysbers with kittens at the Tillsonburg Fair pet show, 27 August 1968.

Barbara Brown and her pet monkey at Woodstock Collegiate Institute, 1950.

A man grooming a horse in a stable, circa 1948 - 1953. Photo taken for the Woodstock "Sentinel-Review" newspaper.

An unidentified man holding a peacock, circa 1948 - 1953. Photo taken for the Woodstock "Sentinel-Review" newspaper.

A man gazing into a cage full of pet birds, circa 1948 - 1953. Photo taken for the Woodstock "Sentinel-Review" newspaper.

A little boy in Western-style clothes with a pony and a foal, 1950. Photo taken for the Woodstock "Sentinel-Review" newspaper.

Dennis Magashazi feeding a fawn with a bottle, 1950. Photo taken for the Woodstock "Sentinel-Review" newspaper.

A boy riding his bike and giving a ride to his pet dog in a trailer attached to the bicycle, circa 1949 - 1950. Photo taken for the Woodstock "Sentinel-Review" newspaper.

A dog and a cat photographed on a wooden chair, 1950. Photo taken for the Woodstock "Sentinel-Review" newspaper.

A man smoking a pipe posing with his dog who also has a pipe in its mouth, circa 1950. Photo taken for the Woodstock "Sentinel-Review" newspaper.

Mr. Royal Brink on his 88th birthday with a puppy in West Oxford. Source: West Oxford W.I. Farms & Families Tweedsmuir.

A family posing with a pet pony outside of their home, circa late-1800s to early-1900s.

Men in uniform at the Woodstock Advanced Driving & Maintenance School posing with two dogs and a goat. The Great Dane was named Blitz and was owned by Col. R.B. Crouch, Second World War.

Miss Margaret Knox, her brother James, Olive Pinkston, and Jean Knox on the farm with the family dog, early 1900s. Source: Plattsville W.I. Tweedsmuir volume 3.

One of these dogs was Sid Parson's dog, a powerhouse staff member at the Oxford Regional Centre. The dog followed Parson all over the ORC while he worked each day. Source: "Oxford Regional Centre: 1906-1996" by Mary Evans, printed in 2000.

Two unidentified women and a pet pug, circa the 1890s.