Arcturus, on the other hand--from my Roman Britain set series--is a shameless savior of beasts. His career as a doctor began when he attempted to heal the hoof of the family's goat, taking her across the field to a small wood. From this safety point, he sees raiders from the Boudiccan army murder his mother and burn down their house.
He's been trying to heal beasts of all sorts--and himself--ever since.
His family includes a dog (Pyxis, who had several puppies and was injured in NOX DORMIENDA but is fine now), a cat (Fera, who also had a litter of kittens and is an excellent mouser), several chickens, and a beloved horse (Nimbus) whom he first encounters in NOX DORMIENDA on a memorable trip to Camulodunum.
Now, given all this affection for animals--and defense of the poor donkey--I am sometimes asked if this is an anachronistic attitude on the part of Arcturus. After all, the reasoning goes, Roman culture is infamous for its arena slaughters of beasts both human and four legged, and animal sacrifice was in intrinsic element of the culture.
Arcturus is not anachronistic. Uncommon, yes .. but of his own time. Plutarch, in a famous essay, advocates that slaves and work animals be treated with kindness, not turned out to the street or sent to the slaughterhouse with old and useless. Cicero descried the murder of elephants in the Roman Colosseum. Catullus wrote of Lesbia's pet sparrow, and grave citations have mentioned precious pets.
How the Greeks and Romans were able to justify animal sacrifice with animal kindness is not all that different from donating to the ASPCA ... and eating a hamburger.
Arcturus isn't a vegetarian ... but he sometimes wishes he were!