Now, saying that, most of my stories include animals - ghost cats, horses, pegasus', dragons etc etc. Yes, the heroes are quite fond of the pets, but generally, I make the animals work for their appearances in my books.
Personally, I enjoy pets in stories. They often bring a little light relief from the seriousness, or they add spark to the storyline. Many famous authors include pets in the majority of their story lines. For Teresa Medeiros, it's cats. I read a Georgette Heyer story where the hero's dog was told to sit and watch the heroine, so it did just that and the heroine couldn't even get herself a drink.
|Ok, maybe not a pet. I could dream|