If you were asked to describe your best friend, you’d probably use words such as: loyal, accepting, comforting, dependable and fun. Those are great qualities in a friend, and they just so happen to be perfect words to describe canine companions as well. It’s no wonder, then, that dogs are often referred to as (hu)man’s best friend. We just celebrated National Best Friends Day. That got us thinking it was the perfect time to celebrate the special bond between people and their furry friends.

Why do dogs make good friends?

Dogs are pack animals. They’re social in nature and love receiving affection and attention. In other words, they enjoy being around us as much as we enjoy being around them. And that’s not just a hunch. As we’ve previously shared, when a dog and its person look into each other’s eyes, a hormone that triggers feelings of unconditional love is triggered in both their brains.

Dogs are often considered members of the family and are integrated into our daily routines. It’s their presence in our everyday lives that allow them to fill the friendship role so readily. They are often the first face we see when we wake up in the morning. Their wagging tails greet us when we come home from a long day. They’re the friends that are always there for us and want nothing more than to make us happy. And just like our human friends, their personalities vary greatly. From easy-going Labradors to hard-working Border Collies, most people can find a dog that fits their lifestyle.

Shout out to all pets

While dogs have historically held the ‘best friend’ title, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share the love with all the other companion animals that serve as our trusty sidekicks and emotional rocks. Pets in general—be them dogs, cats, pocket pets or horses—can have a positive effect on our lives. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) has done some great research that demonstrates how pets improve heart health, reduce depression, contribute to healthy aging, and more. Check out the Pet Effect for more info. Then go spend some time with that four-legged best friend of yours!