We’ve talked before about all the ways pets improve our health. Well, psychologist, Dr. Megan Mueller says our pets also improve our character… and make us much better people.

Dr. Mueller made a side-by-side comparison of the daily activities of pet parents, and people who didn’t own pets. Her results showed that animal lovers spent more time volunteering. They were also more likely to do favors for their friends and family, and to encourage others to lend a helping hand. In other words, caring for a pet makes us care more about people.

It also improves leadership skills and increases confidence. Dr. Mueller suspects that the patience, compassion, and quick-thinking we need when taking care of our pets transfers directly into our relationships with people.