What is it with humans and their pets?

Three completely unrelated news stories of late all connected in the neurons of my brain and I have to ask: what low-level function in the human brain is responsible for this intense desire for humans to have pets? Maybe the nurturing gene(s)?

  • Dogster got some funding back in September of this year;
  • Ugobe Inc. launched Pleo, the robotic dinosaur at Demo 2006;
  • and Genetic Savings & Clone (I thought that was a clever play on the Savings and Loans of yesteryear) has closed after only ever selling two cloned cats and no cloned dogs. They have the following notice on their website which is just a bit bizarre.