I often say that my cat is the coolest person I know. Whether I’m happy or sad, angry or depressed, she’s always there and always responds with unconditional love. She also makes sure I don’t spend too long seated at my desk, sleep too late on the weekends; and she’s great at locating the misguided spider in the corner. And this isn’t limited to me (or my cat).
A 2011 poll by Harris Interactive found that over nine in ten pet owners (91%) say they consider their pet to be a member of their family -a sentiment that remains constant among dog-owners (92%) and cat-owners (91%). And whether it’s a Cocker Spaniel, Calico or Cock-a-too, we do lots of things to show how much we care about our animal friends, like buying them presents, letting them sleep in our beds, or taking them to work with us.
This animal-human kinship goes both ways. Spending time with animals has been shown to have various health benefits including helping to relieve stress and anger. The same Harris poll found that most Americans believe it’s a good idea to have dogs at long-term care facilities (89%), hospitals (72%) and prisons (60%).
But can animals do more than just make us feel good? What about making us better humans? Check out the infographic below to learn about some of the most notable animal-human relationships every known, and discover nine valuable life lessons we can all learn from animals, both wild and domesticated.