Once Nicole found Queso, she knew she had a snuggle buddy for life.

With foster and adoption numbers going through the roof after the pandemic hit, Nicole had a hard time finding a pup to keep her company—after six applications that had fallen through, she found Queso, a little mixed breed shelter pup, and knew she couldn't let this one go!

After losing her dad to cancer in 2018 just after undergoing a preventative double mastectomy, the isolation of the pandemic made grieving extra tough—but Queso immediately knew exactly how to comfort her and cheer her up whenever she needed it. Whether he's cuddling up with Nicole in bed, or climbing all over her warm, fresh laundry for a good laugh, these two are an inseparable pair.

Nicole tells Daily Paws that she loves his cheerful and fun personality—and at times even reminds her of her dad. Nicole and her mom love to think that her father helped bring Queso into their lives, since the little rescue looks so similar to their family dog, Woody, who her father really bonded with. "When I sent his photo back home to my mom, she mentioned to me that he looks so much like our family dog, Woody," she says. "Queso acts very much like our family dog, but he also has such a unique personality that he reminds us of my dad. We always like to think that my dad helped me find a dog."

Nicole says that while she may be the one who rescued Queso from the shelter, "I'm pretty sure that he rescued me." We totally get the sentiment! And Queso isn't the only dog helping their owner get through tough times. Science tells us a good snuggle with a pet can make us feel better, and research even shows that pet ownership leads to happier and healthier lives. From relieving stress to helping us exercise, our precious pooches are pretty powerful.