Part of the family
I went shopping today (for once I've started early on my Christmas shopping) and one thing that I thought was really unusual was how much dogs and cats have really become part of the family in the US. For one thing, while the pet shops have all manner of toys for dogs and cats, some of the clothing shops also now carry a dog range. I was impressed to see dog clothes and other items for dogs at the Old Navy Shop (no cat stuff I'm afraid!).
Also, they have Christmas cards that are from the family dog or cat. While some people may say that's crazy, I reckon it's not a lot different then people signing off on cards on behalf of their infant children. People were also encouraged not to forget their cats and dogs and to get them to take a photo with Santa! It just goes to show that animals really are a part of the family here.