Can druids have companion animals like a ranger can? Like all the pictures of druids in the handbook show them with animals, but it says nothing about druids having animal companions, are they just pets? I know through spells a Druid can talk to animals for a short time, or befriend an animal for a day, but nothing permanent. I’m a little confused as to why a ranger would have better relationships with animals than a Druid.
Alas no. Druids do not get Familiars or Companions. As you mentioned, Druids have a number of spells that allow them to interact and charm plants and animals. You also have plenty of summoning spells that will give you a number of temporary woodland “pals”. However at 9th level you can prepare the spell Awaken. All you have to do is cast this spell once every 30 days and you will never get lonely! You can even cast it more than once and have multiple Awakened pals. If you are kind to your Awakened Tree or velociraptor they may even stick around after 30 days. If they do, you should definitely ask your DM if they will allow the UA Sidekick classes for NPCs.