Nothing compares to the wonderful feeling of coming home after a long day and being greeted by a loyal companion. However, the love and affection they give are not the only things that the little beasts offer.

1. They help reduce stress

Let's face it. Life is stressful. From academic commitments to work obligations, many students are juggling several responsibilities. Luckily, dogs help us destress. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), interacting with animals, particularly cats and dogs, helps reduce the human body's levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone). So something as simple playing fetch or stroking your dog can help distract you from the pressures of life.

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2. They improve our immune systems

Most dogs spend a large amount of their time outdoors. They often bring dirt and germs into your house and while that sounds like a bad thing, the germs can actually help build your immune system, which helps you in the future. In addition, several studies have proved that babies and children who grow up around dogs tend to experience fewer illnesses and are simply healthier than those who don't.

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3. They make us feel safe

When you introduce a dog as a part of your family, they view you as their family and naturally their first instinct is to protect and treat you as one of their own. Not only is their companionship comforting, but it also makes one feel safe. If you're home alone, just having a dog with you can help one feel more safe. In addition, burglars are much less likely to target a home with pets. In fact, certain breeds (i.e. German Shepherds and Pitbulls) are great guard dogs and will immediately protect you from strangers, whether it be at your own home or even while you're out on a walk.

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4. They teach us responsibility

As we venture through our teenage years, we are finally becoming independent. Whether it is through living in a dorm or working and supporting ourselves, we are starting to learn the true meaning of responsibility. Not only will owning a dog teach one the practical skills of life, such as cleaning a cage or walking a dog, but it will also teach one how to empathize and take care of someone other than themselves. These "day-to-day" and nurturing skills will not only help our pets, but their use will extend to many other aspects of our lives.

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5. They love us unconditionally

If you have never owned a pet, you are truly missing out on having a lifelong companion. Dogs are selfless and love us unconditionally, and they are able to create a bond with us that humans could never compare to! They are never moody, they never judge and they are always up for whatever you want to do. Whether you want to take a nap or go running, your dog will always be there for you. When you love your dog and they love you, nothing can break that relationship. They will be the most loyal companion to you, and there's no changing that.

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