5 Things Pets Can Teach Us About Our Human Relationships

by Lindsay Wallace

National Love Your Pet Day is a day set aside to celebrate the love we have for our pets and to give them a little extra pampering.

We’ve all heard the research that shows pets can positively impact our emotional and physical well-beings, from having higher self-esteem and feeling less lonely to being more physically fit.

But, how we interact with our pets can teach us some valuable lessons about our own relationships as well. Here are five things pets can teach us about relationships… human ones, that is.

Greet each other with excitement.

Even when we’re having bad days, our animals are there to greet us with warmth and love. Every day when I come home from work, I’m greeted by animated dogs who wiggle in excitement, spin in circles and give me dog kisses.

We respond to these energetic greetings with pats on the head or by picking them up and showering them with attention.

Most, if not all of us want to be greeted with the same enthusiasm and love we show our pets.

Simply acknowledging our partners and showing them affection can go a long way in making each other feel special and wanted in each other’s lives.

Lower your expectations.

We don’t really expect all that much from our animals. If we’re late getting home or skip out on taking them for long walks, they’re not likely to respond with anger and blame.

In fact, they could care less because at the end of the day, they just want to be around us.

Conversely, if we’re late and we know our partner has cooked a nice meal or we cancel a date because we’d rather have a girl's/guy's night out, we automatically expect the partner to be upset, which automatically puts us on the defense.

Instead of being angry and placing blame, we should strive to give our partners the benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes we’re late because our boss asks us to finish a project at the last minute or we cancel a date because a friend has just gone through a breakup and really needs a night out on the town.

Don’t hold grudges.

Despite being adorable and downright lovable, pets can make us pretty darn angry. They pee on our carpet, chew up the remote and get into the trash.

But, we get over our anger pretty quickly and don’t stay mad at them for very long.

With pets, we’re quick to forgive and don’t take their mistakes personally. On the other hand, when a partner makes us upset or angry, we tend to lash out and place blame.

We make him or her jump through hoops to earn our forgiveness.

Sometimes (if you’re like me), you’ll even make someone wait a few days before you start talking to him or her again.

Let’s give our partners the benefit of the doubt. We are all human and to be human is to be imperfect and flawed.

Put time and effort into taking care of each other and the relationship.

Many people think pets aren’t all that demanding, but if you’re a good pet owner, they actually require a lot of time and attention.

We have to walk them, feed them, play with them and shower them with love and attention. They depend on us to take care of them, and doing so requires us to invest time and effort so they can have a good quality of life.

That kind of nurturing can be translated to how we interact with our partners. Successful relationships require both people to nurture each other and the relationship.

Spend time together and be there for one another because there is a natural ebb and flow in giving and taking.

Give each other unconditional love.

Animals are hard-wired to want to be near us. They’re a source of comfort, especially when we’re having bad days, but maybe, part of why our pets treat us with such unconditional love is because we give them something positive in return.

We accept them as they are, even with their little quirks and annoying habits. We should accept our partners exactly as they are, as well.

When we build our relationships on want, neediness and self-interest, our partners will eventually feel unappreciated and unloved.

To have a successful relationship, we must love for the sake of loving, without the expectation of something in return.

We all have a lot to learn from the way we treat our pets. Think about what you give your pet and how it can improve your relationship.

And, don’t forget to celebrate Love Your Pet Day with some extra attention, a toy or even a nice belly rub.