Knowing Your Human
by jez patterson
It wasn't necessary to read the scientific studies showing that humans possessed a high level of intelligence and a complex and expressive language--it was these precise qualities that made them such excellent pets.
Of course, "pets" didn't really do justice to their function. Their ability to empathize whilst also being creatively unpredictable made them excellent companions in stimulating the elderly and animating the lonely.
"I've read they fall ill a lot," the customer told Sox. Sox smiled and patted several of the customer's limbs.
"All our humans are fully immunized and the first five years' pet health insurance comes as standard."
"What about their psychological frailty? Don't they fret if they're kept alone?"
Sox maintained her smiles. Gaps in a customer's knowledge were either exploited by alarmist rumor or unscrupulous merchants. He was lucky he'd come to Sox's shop.
"It's just that my neighbor had a male that pulled its hair out and scratched itself raw," the customer said. "What do you do with them around mating season?"
"They need to be kept stimulated, certainly. That's why their box comes with a viewing cube loaded with all the entertainment visuals from their home planet. As for a mating season--they don't have one."
Well, in the sense that it was a never-ending pursuit in the species, thought Sox.
"But if your human shows signs of regular overexcitement, neutering remains an option."