Did you know that Byron, upon discovering that dogs were not allowed in rooms at Cambridge, brought a pet bear instead? That Sir Isaac Newton reputedly invented the cat flap? Or that, as a baby, Oliver Cromwell was kidnapped by his family's pet monkey and dragged up to the top of the roof?
That on Napoleon's wedding night, Josephine's dog, Fortune, bit him in the bed thinking he was attacking his mistress? Or that Casanova taught his parrot to shout obscenities against a former mistress and then sold it to a market trader to embarrass her? That Freud's dog Jo-Fi would sit in on analyses and contribute to the doctor's findings?
Throughout history many of our most famous and celebrated figures - great leaders, writers, artist, scientists and pioneers - have, behind closed doors, doted on and marvelled at their pets and their curious ways in the same way as the rest of us.
Apart from making amusing stories in themselves, these tales often shed a uniquely personal and intriguing light on the private lives of some of the greatest pet-owning personalities in history from Alexander the Great to Beatrix Potter.