There’s something to be said for the unconditional love offered by mankind’s best friend — the dog. With Main Street Connect’s Close to My Heart promotion, it’s become obvious that the adoration goes both ways.

Bogie won his owner’s heart by turning an admitted “cat person” over to the canine side of the divide. “They are silly, soulful and superb listeners," said Sallie Mitchell. "They will do anything to please you and master ways to coax you into doing what will please them.”

Wendy Humphries’ love for her Yorkie Russell, Jake, is such that she had to debate between writing about him or how she met her fiancée. Man’s best friend won. “We just clicked, he is a very loving dog,” said Humphries.

Marita Driscoll said of her dog, Baci: “He just grounds us. He doesn’t expect anything. He just speaks through his eyes.”

Sarah Stephenson found Zoe while volunteering at the Norwalk Animal Control. An older dog, maybe 14 to 17 years old, Zoe’s eyes told Stephenson there was still a lot of life left in the stray.

“It just broke my heart that this old doll was walking the streets, and no one came to claim her,” said Stephenson. Zoe eventually made her way into the care of PAWS of CT, where she touched many lives before dying a few years ago, according to Stephenson.

Most of those paying tribute to their four-legged friends chose PAWS of CT as the nonprofit with which they would split the $10,000 prize. According to Cynthia Geremia, a volunteer with PAWS, the last few years have been financially rough on the organization.

“While donations dropped, the numbers of animals coming through our doors soared as people lost their homes and jobs. We were taking animals in in record numbers and our costs skyrocketed,” she said in an email.

Close to My Heart celebrates Valentine's Day by asking participants to share stories about someone who has touched their lives. Now through Feb. 13, readers can submit their stories. On Valentine's Day, a panel of three judges will choose 10 finalists. The grand prize winner will receive $10,000, half of which goes to a local nonprofit of their choice. The other nine finalists will receive $500 each, with half of that also shared with a nonprofit of their choice.