My wife and I have two cats that we saved from being rounded up and put to sleep. Both are very shy. Each cat chose one of us. Training my cat, Bandera, to sit on my lap has taken 9 years. In learning to do it, I've also learned how to be gentle, loving, and patient with my wife.
My wife's cat is needy and cantankerous. In learning to care for her, my wife has figured out a few things about me!
Caring for animals brings out a natural, caring, patient side in us all. Playing with animals makes us playful. Animals are naturally relaxed, and heal themselves easily. If we transfer that to how we care for ourselves and care for and play with each other, we have a more relaxed, more caring, happier family.