Which explains why I just read this story about a robot seal that calms people who live in nursing homes.
The story says in part: "Paro is a robot modeled after a baby harp seal. It trills and paddles when petted, blinks when the lights go up, opens its eyes at loud noises and yelps when handled roughly or held upside down. Two microprocessors under its artificial white fur adjust its behavior based on information from dozens of hidden sensors that monitor sound, light, temperature and touch. It perks up at the sound of its name, praise and, over time, the words it hears frequently.
"“Oh, there’s my baby,” Ms. Oldaker’s mother, Millie Lesek, exclaimed that night last winter when a staff member delivered the seal to her. “Here, Paro, come to me.”
"“Meeaakk,” it replied, blinking up at her through long lashes."
For those of you writing books set in the future, I'm sure you could do something with this idea...