It looks like many of the changes to WoW that were slated for the expansion will be coming in the next big content patch. These changes include pets becoming spells, the ability to retrieve lost pets, the addition of achievements (which means achievement-based rewards, including the much-anticipated pet skunk sent by my NPC counterpart), and possibly changes to pet names as well. It's still unclear when this build will go live, but we're guessing it could be as early as the end of September. Another target release week might be the middle of October, after BlizzCon.
UPDATE: It's official... WotLK will be in stores on November 13, 2008! So hold on tight, folks... it's almost here!
News from the PTR
September 14, 2008