First Comes a Jack-Chi Named Bruce, Then Comes Marriage

For Amanda and Kevin, becoming Bruce’s dog parents was the step that brought their forever family together.

Amanda + Bruce

It was love at first sight for Amanda and Kevin—and a little mixed breed dog named Bruce. Together, they discovered that pet parenting was just the beginning of their journey as a family.

"Without knowing it, we built our lives around Bruce so seamlessly. It felt natural. Bruce had bonded our two lives in a way that dating hadn’t been able to. We were a team."

How do you get a man prone to overthinking and worry to finally pop the question after four years? Well, in my experience, the best thing to do is adopt an adorable but sassy little Jack Chi—a Jack Russell Terrier and Chihuahua mix—and let everything fall into place. 

When we adopted our little Bruce, my relationship with Kevin had stalled. We lived together, loved each other, but he struggled with the big commitment. Finally, we decided to take a new step and adopt a dog. After much discussion and research, we found the perfect breed for our lifestyle. Hypoallergenic for me, medium size for Kevin, and cuddly for both of us! Then we immediately threw that out the window when we met Bruce. 

Bruce shed everywhere, weighed all of 15 pounds, and cuddled only when he deemed it acceptable—but boy, did we love him right away. Our whole lives changed. Suddenly, I was making detailed walking schedules, and Kevin was watching YouTube videos about dog training. It was stressful at first, but we fell into a rhythm. 

We discovered our strengths and weaknesses as new dog parents. Kevin had no patience with Bruce’s willfulness, but I had endless amounts. I can’t throw a toy very far, but Kevin can chuck that thing into the next room for hours on end. With knowing it, we built our lives around Bruce so seamlessly. It felt natural. Bruce had bonded our two lives in a way that dating hadn’t been able to. We were a team. A highly efficient one at that. For a highly rational man, that proof of our ability to work together was all Kevin needed. We were engaged the next month and married in March after that. Bruce has been there the whole time. The center of our family… literally. 

He really does love sitting between us… even if there isn’t any space. But we love every second of it. Kevin calls it our family cuddle time. Now we talk about getting a house so Bruce can have a backyard, and a little brother or sister for him to boss around. The doubts about the future are gone because we know we can handle anything together. If we can figure out how to brush Bruce’s teeth, we can figure out anything!

Each year, Petco Love Stories invites adopters to share how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Amanda won Abandoned Animal Rescue in Magnolia, Texas a 2021 Love Stories award.