The Best Gift
A CANINE COMPANION
Both Ashley and I have always been animal lovers. It’s something we found we had in common when we first started dating. It’s amazing how pets become part of the family, isn’t it? I’ve been lucky to experience that bond throughout my life, and it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. As kids, my sister Katie and I dreamed of getting a dog for Christmas. We imagined that, come Christmas morning, a puppy would be waiting for us next to the Christmas tree. Of course, a pet is a big responsibility, one parents want to make sure their kids are ready for. My dad wasn’t ready to get a dog for another reason. Not long after my parents got married, my dad was attacked by a dog, and it was an experience he wasn’t eager to relive.
Despite my dad’s negative association with them, Katie and I still really wanted a dog. When they saw me crawling on the floor pretending to be a dog with my sister riding on my back, I think my parents realized maybe it was time to finally get us a pet. They adopted a Rottweiler puppy, and it started something of a tradition. Not long after that, we adopted a second Rottweiler, and from then on, we always had a male and female Rottweiler while growing up. Two Rottweilers are part of my parents’ family to this day. Our dogs were two of the best gifts I’ve ever received. Mom and Dad gave Katie and me the gift of learning to care for another creature. Plus, we got to discover how much unconditional love a dog can give. Even when you feel like you’ve had a failure of a day, there they are at the door, wagging their tails because they’re happy you’re home. That human-animal bond is a pretty special thing, isn’t it? Those first two dogs developed my initial love for animals, and when I met Ashley, I found a partner who shared that same love. She’s pretty much the same way about animals as I am. When we got married, I became a dad to her three cats, and we’ve added one more to our family since then. Eventually, we’d love to get a dog, but we don’t have the backyard space for one just yet. But in the near future, we are going to be settling into a home with a yard where it will be appropriate and fair to have dogs — a yard they can run around in. For now, I think our cats Maui, Xina, and Punky are happy to have our attention all to themselves, even if they’re fickle about when they actually want it. Our passion for animals is something we want to pass on to Russell and Ruby. Over Veterans Day weekend, we celebrated Ruby’s birthday with a bunch of friends. We fortunately have more than enough toys around the house, so rather than bring gifts, we asked guests to bring a bag of dog food or make a donation to an animal rescue organization in our kids’ names. Ashley and her mom, Bernice, are also very involved with a local nonprofit that rescues labs, called the Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida, and they give their time to help make sure these Labs find good homes. It feels good to give back to something we’re passionate about and to reminisce about gifts that have given us so much.
– Chris Bruce
Ruby loves big dogs.
(561) 810-0170 • 1www.brucepa.com
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