I don’t want to pet this guy’s dog. Okay, I might like that. But I do not want to ever hear about his special relationship with his dog. Ever, ever. I’m even a bit uncomfortable watching him finger the thing. It isn’t really petting. It’s more like Gollum stroking the Ring (I did say I was a science fiction writer).
At the end of the day, they’re just animals. They don’t reason. They can’t talk. Even if therapy dolphins existed—which may be a thing for all I know—they can’t talk, not really. It may be “tragic” and “unfair” that this should be true, but there you go.
Pets feel only truncated emotions. Fortunately for us humans, one of these basic emotions is love. Broadly speaking though, pets are useless by definition. We keep them to love us, not help us. Pets can’t even turn a doorknob. We help them. The reason you get a pet for your kid is to make sure the kid’s ready for the real challenge later.