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Pet Shop Workers


Can you imagine George Washington with a pet hamster? No? Well, there's a good reason for that—the hamster was not even domesticated until around 1930. But picturing George alongside his faithful steed is not a problem at all. Just as successful horse trading was important to the development of Indian villages for hundreds of years, horse trading proved a staple of American business from the first colonies to the cities of the early 20th century. Though the horses in the stables of the early Americans were well-loved by their owners, they weren't exactly considered "pets" or "companion animals." Horses were relied upon for transportation, industry, and farm work. But these horse traders, with their sense of business and knowledge of animal care, are early examples of the pet shop owners who found thriving business on the town squares across the developing country, alongside the apothecaries and general stores.

Though domestic cats in the United States only date from around 1750, they were first domesticated (along with lions and hyenas) around 1900 B.C., in Egypt. In the years before that, cats were considered sacred. Dogs as pets predate cats; ancient carvings and paintings depict a range of breeds, and Egyptian tomb paintings feature greyhounds and terriers.

Pet ownership, particularly cats and dogs, has increased. From 1970 to 2018, the number of dogs and cats in homes has increased from 67 million to an estimated 125.8 million, according to the Humane Society of the United States. With an increase in pet ownership, the demand for pet shops to provide for these animals has increased.