How about making a pet option eventually, but whereby you have to actually tame the type of animal you want to have as a pet.
You could leave certain food on your land each night, and there could be other aspects, like you protect them from predators, and give them a little shelter separate from your house to live in.
It would be an option for those of us who would give it a chance. I wouldn't mind having some kind of creature as company. It would add some interesting content in my opinion.
Those who don't want any pets can choose not to bother with this option. they simply do nothing, and carry on as usual. no disabling anything. There could even be restrictions to certain creatures, like if you had a nocturnal creature as a companion, it would basically withdraw at dawn.
I would also be interested in an option for a spirit-guide. If your companion is killed by predators, or the environment (but NOT the player) then the creature could become your spirit guide, and show you certain secrets in the world, but in a kind of cryptic way, so you still have to work for it.
if the companion is killed by the player, then they simply die, and the player gets nothing in return. (the price to pay for being a meanie. haa!)
What do people think? pointless? Unfitting for RW? Too much pratting about?