Couple who met at shelter making it down the aisle

Ten years ago, a couple bonded over dog lovers.

The 10-year anniversary of Julian Sanchez and Laura Nichols’ romance will be celebrated this Saturday when they move into their new San Francisco home, an unassuming Craftsman that was overlooked for about 12 years.

The couple met when Sanchez volunteered for the American Kennel Club’s Golden Retriever and Retriever Club. Nichols was working at the Alameda County Humane Society. She runs the Golden Retriever Club website and works to raise the profile of the breed.

“She’s a really smart lady and really attractive,” Sanchez, 28, said. “It’s so good for a dog person to meet another dog person.”

The pair’s lives began falling in sync last year when Nichols, 29, came across an animal shelter.

She wanted a 2-year-old Pomeranian that needed new wheels. Sanchez was looking for something similar, too. He ended up with a Welsh corgi that was just right.

“She was the first dog I loved,” said Sanchez, a photo editor at a marketing firm.

At the shelter, Nichols came across a spaniel and a Yorkshire terrier and ended up adopting the second one, which turned out to be a Pomeranian with four legs.

With a Pomeranian and a Yorkshire terrier, Nichols said, “You have the beginning of a family.”

With the corgi, “I was envisioning a superhero family,” she said.

One July night, Nichols left San Francisco’s Alameda County Humane Society bound for Central Valley to pick up the spaniel. She strapped her dog in a nylon air bed and took the Boeing 737 to Sacramento. She snuck up on Sanchez, and the two got to know each other before boarding a city bus to Sacramento.

“We hugged, stared at each other and became romantic,” Nichols said.

A few weeks later, they were back in San Francisco, with Sanchez back in Nichols’ shop. They hit it off again and drove back to Sacramento, where they also took out their dog, the Pomeranian, who also came with them.

The couple returned to San Francisco one last time, this time with a pup.

“We got a dog,” Sanchez recalled Nichols saying. “It’s so perfect.”

The dog joined the pair on their weeklong honeymoon, spending a week with them near their new home.

They’re now waiting for the shelter board to board the dog, Burackey, with Nichols’ boss. When they move in next week, “I’ll be running around fixing stuff on this porch because I’m like a robot,” she said.

And just in case they get married, “I have all the bills,” Nichols said.

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