Animals can’t talk, but they sure do convey pretty much everything they need to say, don’t they? This includes our animals showing their deep love for us. Mystic, my rescue dog, for instance, shows her love for me by wagging her whole body, including her tail—which wags like a giant helicopter propeller! This greeting is reserved for a very special few. She also just loves my daughter, Indigo (her human “sister”). When Indigo finishes an especially tasty snack, Mystic loves to lick all of the morsels and crumbs right off her face. Yep, we don’t need napkins over here! Mystic also loves snuggling on our laps during TV time and is fiercely protective of us. She doesn’t like strangers approaching the house, including the rowdy squirrel that lives in the redwood tree next to our living room window. She goes crazy every time he comes down to investigate; she’s so worried he’s going to crawl through the glass window and terrorize us all. (Maybe she knows something I don’t know?)

My sister Charlotte has a cat, and she reports her sweet Persian shows love in these special ways: warm head butts and nose kisses, figure eights around her ankles when she walks from one room to the next, and shadowing her every move. When she sits down to work on her laptop, Paddington is right there by her side, cuddling and sleeping with his chin resting gently upon the top of her left hand even as she types. And anytime she’s down or blue, somehow he just knows and arrives just in time for a heartful snuggle.

My horses, on the other hand, show their love in less obvious ways—but I believe it’s still there. Shawnee, a senior enjoying his golden years, nickers every time he sees me and gives me a gentle greeting—a soft nuzzle against my stomach. Kodiak, on the other hand, is much too young and macho for such vulnerable signs of love. When he sees me across the pasture, yes, he’ll approach—but his greeting is more of a sideways glance followed by a playful push against my arm with his muzzle. It’s sweet but tough. But they both get extra loving when I bring carrots (of course).

There are some scientific reasons to explain our animals letting us in by letting their guard down. This article goes into that, along with five common signs your dog loves you. For the cat lovers out there, do you recognize these 10 signs your cat loves you? And, no, I’m not forgetting my ferret parents out there—here’s a roundup of telltale signs your ferret truly loves you.

I’d love to hear: How does your special animal show his or her love for you?

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