There have been very few times in my life when there wasn't a pet in my home. In fact, I think only my college years were pet free, due to time, space, and landlord constraints.
When I was little, there were cats. One, a fluffy white and grey sweet kitty named Ladybug. The other, a fluffy white and orange not-so-sweet kitty named Fireball. Fireball was a bit schizophrenic. One minute he would be laying upside down on your lap, allowing you the priveledge of scratching his belly, and then he would let you know he was done by ever so gently reaching up and scratching your face off. Or he would be curled up in a ball in his favorite sleeping spot on the stairs. It was always risky going up and down the stairs when he was there. Sometimes you could go around or over him and he wouldn't so much as twitch a whisker. Then there were the times you would quietly step around him and suddenly realize your ankle was bleeding. You just never knew with him. But I liked Fireball, he had character.
Later we had a dog, Biscuit. She was the cutest, sweetest, and dumbest Golden Retriever ever. And she had a talent for slobber. Good for curling up with though.
Jason's family always had dogs. When I met him, they had Warf. Warf was insane. But, in his defense, he was raised in a house with two teenage boys and their friends. He had no choice. Many people have said they would like to be reincarnated as a pet in that household though. Those dogs are absolutely members of the family, and spoiled as such.
I believe that, whenever possible, kids should be raised with pets. It teaches them to be gentle, and responsible, and love with no expectations or qualifications. I'm glad I've always had them around.