Other than Christmas and Thanksgiving, I think this might be my new favorite unofficial holiday.

Although we should be celebrating our fur babies every day, it's nice to celebrate them with a little more love and perhaps an extra treat today.

It's National Pet Day, of course, and the SouthCoast did not disappoint.

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The second I got home, I made sure my dog Bella got her belly rubbed and an extra cookie for being the good girl that she is.

Each year on April 11, National Pet Day brings awareness of the positive mental health benefits our animals can provide. According to the National Institutes of Health, pets can "contribute to overall cardiovascular health by lowering cortisol, cholesterol and blood pressure levels." Add overall happiness and random bouts of serotonin boosts throughout the day and I'd say that having a pet is not all that bad.

Sure, animals can be expensive, but that's all part of the responsibility of being a pet owner. It teaches us how to budget and become financially adaptable to supporting more than just ourselves. Not to mention pets can be great nap partners after eating too much ham on Easter (see below).

Gazelle/Townsquare Media
Gazelle/Townsquare Media

Whether you're a snake lover, a bird connoisseur, a cat person or a dog owner, National Pet Day is for everyone.

We asked you to share your pets with us and we received hundreds of photos. As much as we would love to highlight every dog, cat, bunny, horse, etc., we narrowed this list down to 35 of the cutest and most loving animals here on the SouthCoast.

35 SouthCoast Pets That Will Brighten Your Day

SouthCoast pet owners share their adorable "fur babies".

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