"If you pick up a starving dog.....
and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." ~ Mark Twain
I highly value loyalty, appreciation and gratitude, but after 59 years of experience with it, I have come to the conclusion that these things are very rare, or, if they do exist, at best they are ephemeral.
My ex tells me that I'm someone who feels compelled to take care of others. It's true: I'm more comfortable in the care giver role than the one who gets taken care of. In fact, I can't think of any occasion since my parents died where anybody has really done much to care for me. Well, maybe in small ways (cook me dinner, lend me an ear), but most of the time I doesn't make me feel at ease.
I spend most of my life being laid back and chill; I demand very little of people, and I find this helps me deal, because I know people don't really offer me much beyond a kind word or two.
If anything is offered, I find it usually comes with strings attached, and if there's one thing I dislike, it's strings.