From Corgis to cockatiels and Poodles to ponies – there’s no doubt we Brits love our animals.

And is it any wonder why? 

Pets make loyal and loving companions, can alleviate anxiety and loneliness, reduce blood pressure and make us laugh.

So, as it’s National Love Your Pet Day today (20 February), we’re marking the occasion with four uplifting pet stories.

Poppy, the paediatric physiotherapy dog

When 13-year-old Evie needed to learn to walk again after a life-threatening respiratory illness, loving Labradoodle Poppy was by her side.

Poppy joined Evie, who has Down’s syndrome, at her weekly hospital gym sessions at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, in December.

When things got tough for Evie, or she needed a little breather, she could stroke or play with Poppy to lift her spirits.

Thanks to the close bond between patient and dog – and the dedication of NHS staff and the charity Pets as Therapy – Evie was well enough to spend Christmas at home with her family.

Peggy, the Chinese Crested / Pug cross

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And in the case of Peggy and her owner, Holly Middleton, this may well be the case.

Peggy was crowned Britain’s Ugliest Dog last year. And she certainly is distinctive.

Hairless, apart from a white thatch of fur on her head, Peggy’s tongue permanently hangs down the side of her mouth.

But Holly won’t hear a bad word said about her. She told Sky News: “I think she’s really cute, I don’t think she’s ugly.”

Zebby the cat

Put your paws together for Zebby, National Cat of the Year 2023.

The moggie who lives in Derbyshire with owner Genevieve Moss is a hearing cat.

He alerts his deaf owner to noises around the home and provides endless cuddles and snuggles.

Genevieve, 66, says Zebby is her best friend and saviour and means she never feels lonely. 

Alpacas Raymond, Rodney and Roy

Who says you can’t have a pet if you’re a clean freak?

Cleaning guru Sophie Hinchliffe (known as Mrs Hinch on social media) has a spotless abode and three alpacas.

Raymond, Rodney and Roy spend much of their time in the garden but regularly come into the kitchen for treats. (Alpacas like raisins, apparently.)

Sophie says her ‘furry boys’ have made her home complete. She told the Guardian her alpacas provide her with a sense of calm and contentment.

Are you a pet lover? If so, share a photo below of your furry, feathered or scaly friend.