Animals don't see sickness, ailments or disfigurements as something to be disgusted by. They don't see race, gender or age. Animals that have been trained with care and compassion simply see the desire for love and affection and seek to return it.
Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the feelings of another. Domestic pets and trained social animals show an exceptional ability to empathize with a persons most basic, but powerful, emotions. They understand when someone is in pain or afraid and often animals will attempt to comfort that person, even if that person is not 'theirs.'
Animals have a way of accepting people without qualification. Animals don't care about how someone looks or speaks. An animal's acceptance is nonjudgmental, forgiving and uncomplicated.
At the very least our animals are entertaining. Even people who don't like animals often enjoy watching their antics and reactions. Animals don't have a concept of embarrassment, they are reactive to their environments. Every outing is a novelty to them, a pleasure for us and a joy for those we visit.