The attraction (and humour) of owning a Pet Rock has a lot to do with 'rock identification', that is recognizing a rock - or petra (Greek "πέτρα"), often makes better companion and fits better in a home or around a property than most pets do. If we are looking for an undemanding companion that is content to stay in the house and sleep all day, that doesn't need walking or feeding, that won't chew the rug and isn't going to rack up a lot of vet bills or roll over and die on us one day, then a common rock does appear to be the perfect choice.
Genuine pet lovers are looking for more interaction. Even if it means having their time and finances eaten into and enduring the pile of crap heartache and pain that often accompanies having a pet; anyone who love animals will have difficulty with the idea of caring for a rock instead. It's too safe. It's too boring. They want to be needed and need to be wanted. Rock lovers, on the other hand, have recognized ( some of them perhaps only barely ) a different need within, one that can be only be satisfied by the presence of, and an interaction with, something less animate.
Pet Rocks not only satisfy the needs of the people who don't really want pets, they satisfy the needs of people who don't quite 'get' stones either. The rock lovers who are content with merely storing one or two rocks on a shelf do not understood the complex attachment rocks can have with each other.
While humourous and full of puns the instruction manual that comes with every Pet Rock portrays them as uninteresting, predictable, common and lovably unresponsive. We are not encouraged to discover their real worth or explore their inherent structural aesthetic potential. A genuine newbie rock hound might do better owning a pet first, in hopes of eventually developing an understanding for the kind of creative input and exciting long term commitment we can expect from rocks and stones. While pets are always looking to us for food and water, rocks which need neither, will ever continue nourishing us and feeding our imagination.