I remember a friend once telling me that she came home from work after a hard day feeling tired and discouraged. As she came through the door, her dog jumped for joy at her return and begged for her love and attention, grateful for even a small tidbit of affection. Her husband, on the other hand, never moved from his spot in front of the television and greeted her with a noncommittal grunt. She said she knew at that moment, she would get a divorce, keep the dog and live happily ever after and she did. When I knew her years later, her dog still went insane with happy, sloppy love and kisses each time she returned home. Such is the love from a "dumb" animal.
I have a friend that fosters dogs for the local humane society. She has had a parade of dogs so mistreated by humans, that they shiver and shake when approached and bear lifelong scars of abuse. Her latest dog was caged at a puppy mill for 8 years. He didn't even come with a name. He sleeps in a small space he found behind a bag of potting soil in her garage and lives in abject fear of humans. I have no doubt that with her patient love of animals, he will leave her care a different animal, and despite the terrible treatment at the hands of another human, will find a family that he will greet with great fanfare and attention and adoration as they come home to him each day. Few humans can match that. I could not live without it.