7 priceless gifts pets give us

Woman with Neville the dog in her lap on a couch
This holiday season, take time to celebrate pets and all the wonderful (and priceless) gifts they give us all year round.
By Nicole Hamilton

Comfort, joy, biscuits: The gifts pets give us encourage laughter, inspire us to see the beauty that’s all around us and help us connect with others. Lucky for us, we don’t have to wait for a special occasion to be the recipient of something wonderful from a pet. They give freely and often, as in 365 days a year.

This holiday season don’t forget to celebrate the pets in your life, from the biscuit-making cat whose purrs can help you relax, to the dog who showers you with sloppy kisses. You can’t buy any of these sweet gifts online or in store, of course, but they’re priceless, nonetheless.

In the spirit of the season, here’s a list of seven (of many) gifts that pets give us.

1. The gift of companionship

Person driving a car with a dog with mouth open looking forward from back seat

Pets are our co-pilots, our wingmen and the very best BFFs, whose presence alone makes life better And since you can always be free to be your wacky and wonderful self around pets, go ahead and sing off-key in the car. (Just don’t be surprised if they join in.)

2. The gift of fitness (and fun)

Person playing with a wand toy with a cat who is leaping in the air

Forget the gym membership. Pets are awesome personal trainers. They’ll never make you feel guilty for eating one too many cookies, and they couldn’t care less if you’d rather skip the squats. Simply grab the leash and head out for a walk with a dog. Wand toy play sessions with a cat will get your heart rate up in no time, too.

3. The gift of adventure

Smiling couple holding Monroe the black and white cat

Pets have a way of finding beauty and wonder in the world. Every day is a chance for new adventures and they embrace each and every one of them with enthusiasm, whether it’s a trip to the beach or a ride to the grocery store. And we’re not just talking about dogs. Cats can enjoy adventures, too.

4. The gift of comfort

Man sitting with and petting a dog on a couch

Sometimes all it takes is the sound of a cat purring peacefully to help us feel calm and content. In fact, studies have shown that the purring of cats helps lower stress levels, and dog licks have known therapeutic benefits, too. These two once-homeless dogs, for example, are changing life for a U.S. Marine Corps veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

5. The gift of joy

Three kittens playing with a wand toy

It’s nearly impossible not to smile when you watch kittens play with abandon or puppies wiggle with glee. And few things are as joyous as watching a pet leave the shelter after being adopted.

6. They bring good tidings to all

Neville the dog on a bed with a woman

Pets seem to know that the more joy you put out there in the world, the more joy you get in return, and they love unconditionally. Neville, for example, was fearful of people when he was at Best Friends in Los Angeles, but with help from Paws for Life K9 Rescue, an organization that pairs inmates with trainers, he was able to put his fears aside and get adopted.

7. And to all a good night

Person sitting on a bed with two dogs

Weighted blankets may be the bee’s knees these days and heated blankets are fantastic on cold wintry nights, but pets make the ultimate bed warmers. Curl up with a cat or snuggle with a dog. It’s good for them and it’s good for you, too.

Foster joy this season

Help give your local shelter a silent night by signing up to foster a cat or dog to clear the shelter for the holidays.

Here’s how to foster

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