My mother once had a pet monkey named "Harold." She had been walking down the street in her suburban neighborhood, saw the monkey (who, it's assumed, ran away from the circus) and took it in. My brother and I had questioned the truthfulness of the anecdote, but photographs produced at a family reunion confirmed Harold's existence in my mother's childhood home.
Though today, many laws regulate what animals you can and can't keep in your home, it seems that in the decades leading up to the '70s, things were a little more lax in the exotic/weird pet department.
Here's the adorable evidence:
Back in the day, it was acceptable to attempt to teach your pet monkeys table manners. This is a glimpse into the home life of Baltimore Zoo director Arthur Watson, whose dinner hour was much more exciting than yours will ever be. (Though the conversation was probably a little dull.)
A pet boar happily took any leftovers you might have had at the kitchen table. It's the size of a dog and kind of functions as a garbage disposal. A very cute garbage disposal.
A lynx could offer companionship without the stigma of cat ownership. Though we can't imagine what the litter box situation would be with this particular pet.
Who needed a stable, when you could fit a horse in the living room? Meet Chauncey, "the world's smallest horse," owned by Willis D. Parker of Hollywood, California.
There was always company for tea time thanks to a sheep with a healthy appreciation for the finer things. Here's Betty, a sheep that clearly had no boundaries. We will say that she's more behaved than many of our guests.
An owl could help take the hassle out of knitting. How do you think all those blankets, socks and sweaters were made? Hm?
Pumas were a more interesting alternative to a burglar alarm. Though the baby in this photo seems to have a different opinion. Do you think the puma shed all over their carpets and furnishings?
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