Italian Miniaturist, The Visconti Book of Hours, after 1430
Giraffes, Elephants, Ichneumons & Papingos
...To dissect a fully grown giraffe with any success, in the open, in Aleppo, in September, demands an esoteric assortment of talents, such as, for example, a smart turn of speed.
At sixty-three, Pierre Giles was a few years past his best, but he was going to have a damned good attempt.
A day after he came across the beast, on its last legs on the road from Cairo, he had bought it, had it brought to the French Consul's house in Aleppo, and ignoring the cries of the attaché, who was a fool, had got the men scurrying to fill the courtyard with straw, set up the tables and basins and a stool for his secretary , Pichon, and fix the awning from wall to wall, ready for day. He had started work then and there, by torchlight; and by dawn, when he stood back for the first time, sweating, and drank off the Candian wine that they brought him, the beast was already half flayed and Pichon had ten pages of notes. ...
More about pets? Look up these links:
Dorothy Dunnett: Pawn in Frankincense, 16 - Aleppo
Zirafah, the tallest of all
History of Zoology