If you've had a pet, you know darn well that they don't get just one month of appreciation, they get (and expect) many months of appreciation!
I've had a variety of pets throughout my life -- cats, dogs, hamsters, chameleons, canaries, turtles -- most came from a shelter and most were surprisingly long-lived. I think that's something that people don't consider when they adopt. A lot of the time, these critters will be with us for a decade or more. All of my books (20+ and counting) feature a pet. Even Lie to Me, my cross-country adventure that started with the Blind Date from Hell, has a homeless kitten as a major character. Candy, Corpses, and Classified Ads has a pet pig that digs up a body -- thus kicking off the story. Even my futuristic series featured a woman who could speak telepathically with animals.
I know I've learned a lot from my pets. I think, as I get older, the one thing I appreciate about pets is what they teach me about aging. They accept it -- they slow down but they still show interest in the things they love to do (bird watching or chasing that ball. Who cares if the bird gets away or the ball gets away? It's the interest that matters, right?) They don't complain (okay, maybe a little whine now and again) and they don't moan about aching joints, etc. They rest when they need to, they eat when they're hungry, and they play when they feel like it.
I think that's a good prescription for life, don't you? Rest as needed, eat when hungry, and play the rest of the time.
I might just put that advice to good use!