Pets are part of our family. They add colour to our lives and make our home an exciting place. They come in all shapes and sizes and have unique characteristics and personalities.

  • We care for them.
  • Feed them.
  • Give them a home.
  • Love them.

Seemingly they don’t offer much in return apart from their love and affection (and for me that is more than enough). But that’s judging just by looking at the surface. It’s easy to overlook all the benefits.

Here are 6 amazing ways pets help us with personal development.

1. You become responsible.

You can’t take short cuts when you care for another life.

  • You learn how to balance your finances.
  • You start to sacrifice your time and personal needs for your pets.
  • And you act on your feet when they’re in trouble.

Those are complex skills, but the companionship and love that pets show make you learn fast.

2. You learn how to care.

Give a fluffy puppy or a cute kitten to the toughest person you know and watch their heart melt.

We form strong bonds with our pets, so we can’t neglect their well-being. When we see them in pain, we do whatever we can to ease the suffering. We learn how to feel compassion, kindness and show the purest form of love to our pets.

We begin to explore love for others on a whole new level.

3. Your self-esteem increases.

When you succeed in life, confidence grows. Because of your pets, your self-esteem gets a huge boost.

Skills such as patience and self-discipline improve, and a happy, healthy pet is proof that you’re doing a good job.

4. Your health improves.

If you own active pets, you’ve experienced how much energy it takes to keep them happy. They make exercise fun and interesting because you’re not even aware of the workout you do together as you’re having so much fun.

Then there are the mental health benefits of pet ownership

. Animals have a calming effect on humans.

  • When you’re lonely, they offer companionship.
  • When you need a smile, simply look at them and a grin inevitably forms on your lips.

In fact, studies suggest that dogs and cats can help people with mild depression and dementia. They ease tension and anxiety when you stroke, cuddle, or hug them.

5. You become more social.

Many pet owners engage in animated conversations with other animal lovers at the vet or in the park. You brag about your wonderful “kids” and exchange stories, tips and tricks like proud parents.

Pets make great conversation starters with likeminded people. Conversations are natural when you talk about them and shyness takes a back seat – wow, you’ve become social thanks to your pets!

Dogs need to go outside for walks and exercise. There’s your opportunity for more social interaction with other people.

6. You see your true self.

Pets bring out the best in people and they show where we can improve.

New pet owners learn of surprising habits and traits during the difficult phases of pet ownership. With a pet, you don’t have to fear repercussions – so you act as if you trully are.

It’s accurate feedback because owners discover weaknesses without prejudice or judgements. Pets only reflect back what we give to them.

7. You learn life lessons.

Animals are playing a greater role in human health today.

Teachers, doctors, and therapists use animals to aid learning and to help with healing. We don’t consider pets our teachers, but we learn valuable life lessons from them.

  • They teach us the true meaning of love and loyalty.
  • We learn how to make smart decisions and how to multi-task.
  • We become better people because of our pets.

The next time you’re with your pets, remember how much they contribute to your happiness. Remember how you’ve changed since they entered your life. Then reward them with a delicious snack and a hug!

We develop a great deal because of our pets, and they don’t ask for much in return. A safe home and a full belly are enough. Value and care for your pets. They can’t tell you directly, but they value and care for you too.