Man's Best Friend: How Pets Remind You What's Important In Life

by Kate Kole

Since we already have National Sibling, Nutella, Pancake, Pizza and Cupcake Day — and of course, Running Day (to combat the calories consumed on said food days) —, it's only appropriate that we should acknowledge our beloved animals and celebrate Love Your Pet Day, too.

They are, after all, the ones who love us regardless of whether or not we're wearing pants, drank too much wine last night, got accepted into graduate school, were asked out on a second date or made it to the gym.

Our pets don't care if we've been to all the places we need to visit before turning 25, if we absentmindedly stress-ate half a cheesecake while watching "The Blacklist," scored a promotion at work, won our fantasy-football league or failed to finish cleaning our place before our guests arrived.

They don't keep tabs on the nights we got home late, forgot an anniversary, had a quarter-life crisis meltdown or started a tiff over something as insignificant as what to have for dinner.

Our pets haven't noticed the extra five pounds we gained over the holidays, and if they have, they won't mention them.

They don't judge us according to how much we accomplish in a day.

They're not concerned with our bank-account balance or how much we spent or saved this month. Go makeup-free or cake it on; your pets couldn't care less.

To borrow a line from John Grogan's "Marley & Me":

"A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he'll give you his."

Our pets have no preference for Lululemon leggings over Walmart's.

They aren't interested in our résumés and we'll never need to work to impress them with fancy Instagram photos documenting how cool our lives are.

Pets arguably have the best understanding of what's truly important in life.

They're grateful come meal time, love their families most, live in the moment, forgive quickly, savor an afternoon nap and take time to delight in the little things in life.

They appreciate car rides with the windows down, their favorite treats and lazy Sundays.

They're excited by the sound of the peanut-butter jar opening, the sight of a squirrel running by the window and the feel of a good, old-fashioned belly rub.

While it's nice to take the time to celebrate our pets, they have no expectation for us to do so.

They don't need a national day because they don't live in an "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" kind of way.

They'll wag their tails and purr figure eights through our legs simply because we're home.

That's the beauty of pets; they're not in it for ulterior motives or self-promotion. What you see is what you get.

Returning to Grogan's earlier quote, he concludes his thought by posing the question:

How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?

The truth? Not many.

Our pets offer an unconditional love that is so often reserved and concealed. They will, in more ways than one, be the truest and best friends we will ever have.

They have a way of bringing simplicity to our chaotic lives. Because of their playful, authentic and loving ways of being, they in turn, bring out those traits in us.

They help us to stay centered and provide us with laughter each day. And, as they pound on their food and water bowls, we're reminded that life isn't all about us.

Pets require our love, attention and affection. Go hug them.