I do love most animals (with the exception of the lizards that hang out at my front door and harass me), and I've found that loving an animal changes a person's life. Whether they are a service animal, therapy animal, or just a pet- the love you have for them and the love you receive back is one of the purest feelings in the world.
Loving and caring for an animal is an act of unconditional love. You don't have to love an animal. The animal might not even notice as long as you feed and take care of it, but for some reason our fondness stretches into love. People risk their lives to rescue their animals from flooding streets or burning homes. People dedicate novels and movies to the pain that is losing a pet (looking at you Marley and Me). People consider a pet part of their family.
And they're not wrong.
Loving a pet teaches you to be selfless. Sometimes you have to wake up early and take them on walks, clean up their tank or cage every day, or give them difficult to distribute medication. And although they might not serve a specific purpose to us, we still do it. Because we love them. They curled up into a place in our heart and now they are our babies.
Furthermore, some scientific studies show that animals feel love in the same chemical way that people do. When pet owners hold their cats or dogs, their pet releases the same hormones that humans do when they're in love.
While they may have more of a reason to love us, as we are their sole caretakers, it is still a wonderful feeling to know that they do.
There is really no love like the love of a pet. An animal, that is not even the same species as you, chooses to play with you when you're bored, cuddle you when you're sad, and sometimes even give their own life to protect you. They don't have to and they still do it. They know that you're special to them. Sometimes you're their whole world.
But whatever pet you have (dogs, cats, snakes, cow), remember to tell them how much you love them today. Remember that your love for them and their love for you is a special bond of nature. Soul mates of a different kind.
And if you don't have an animal friend, don't worry. There is a special fluffball our there for everyone.
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."- Anatole France