In Dude Lit, men confide in animals that are not deliberate pets, but wild animals and strays.
“These poor waifs and strays of humanity had a melancholy ending,” an 1874 New York Times article reads.
This requires being open to what will actually accomplish this—even if it strays from existing dogma.
That was the law of the cattle-trails; every man had the right to seek out his strays in the country through which he had passed.
No one sheep ever strays off by himself, you may be sure of that.
So you have come to reclaim your strays, is that it, Colonel Haywood?
And I hope,” she added, “that Ruth will find no more waifs and strays.
I was looking for some strays when they landed on the river.
But the ‘strays’ are ‘crooks,’ and their homes the penitentiary.
There's only one drawback as far as I'm concerned; if Philip strays off too far somebody may take him for a rabbit or a deer.
c.1300, a shortening of Old French estraier "wander about," literally "go about the streets," from estree "route, highway," from Late Latin via strata "paved road" (see street). On another theory, the Old French word is from Vulgar Latin *estragare, a contraction of *estravagare, representing Latin extra vagari "to wander outside" (see extravagant). Figurative sense of "to wander from the path of rectitude" is attested from early 14c.
"domestic animal found wandering," early 13c., from Old French estraié "strayed," past participle of estraier (see stray (v.)). The adjective is first recorded c.1600.