A lot of my childhood memories are arranged by the pets we had. I was fortunate to live in the country where we had lots of animals (horses, cows, pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats), but it was different for my own children. We volunteered on a nearby ranch for their "farm" experience and even let them raise a couple of chicks at home one spring. When those chicks grew we gave them to our friends who were already keeping chickens. Over the years, our companions have included dogs, cats, birds, fish, bunnies, turtle, lizards, salamanders, gecko, tarantulas, scorpion, millipede, and rodents.
And yes, I've read the book by Gerald Durrell, "My Family and Other Animals".