It's safe to say in New Zealand our pets are absolutely adored: it's not unusual for our dogs to accompany us to Saturday brunches and it's likely any pet owner's phone camera roll is dominated by their furry friend.
We buy festive outfits for our dogs for the holidays, create Instagram accounts dedicated to our pets (learn how to take the perfect photo here) and spend small fortunes on vet bills (every pet owner knows that unless you want to take out a bank loan for vet bills, you just cough up the money for pet insurance).
And despite the language barrier, our pets become family, and we love them - even when they annoy us (as any frustrated parents of a cheeky new puppy will understand. Don't worry, they will eventually get the hang of toilet training, you may just need to try different strategies).
In fact, we love our companion animals so much, they actually outnumbered us in 2015 - according to a report published by The New Zealand Companion Animal Council Inc. Yes, really.
The cat lovers among us will be delighted ('smug') to know that cats are more popular pets than dogs - 44 per cent of pet owners have a cat and only 28 per cent have a dog.
And it's a good thing we're so obsessed with our furry friends, because as it turns out, owning a pet is actually wonderful for our health.
Check out our gallery below to see how adopting a pet can not only give an animal a loving home, but benefit your health in ways you hadn't considered.