In December of 2019, Fabio Stephens, the ninth grade English and Drama teacher, found Bruce Lee Wayne Banner Almighty Stephens III at the Inland Valley Humane Society.
Bruce was in the last row of crates, in the very last kennel. Paw outstretched under the cage, Stephens held it, and at that moment he knew he had found his canine companion.
“I sat down and touched his hand, and he rolled over. I was like ‘Yep, that's my dog.’” Stephens recalls.
Stephens and Bruce have developed an ever greater relationship since the start of quarantine and Stephens believes that Bruce has been a big help for him .
He explains, “Whether it was God, or whether it was kismet or whether it was luck that I decided to get him in January, because then of course as we know Coronavirus hit, and I would have been by myself this whole time had I not have gotten him. I see him as a bit of a savior.”
The fluffy, teddy bear-like Mastiff mix enjoys going on daily walks at various different parks, riding in the car, and loves going over to his grandma's house to sniff around and play with his grandma’s dog, Bella.
Among the many activities that Bruce enjoys, there is one in particular that he also seems equally appealed to: a well timed and well needed ZOOM bomb. Not only does he drop in to say hello to students, but he takes up the whole screen so that everyone in class gets a full view of the bright and kindly dog.
“His head is so enormous that he takes up the entire screen,” Stephens laughs.
Bruce has many fine qualities. However, Stephens thinks that the most special characteristic about the mastiff is that he is able to be a giant teddy bear when people perceive him to be big and intimidating.
“It's really powerful. In this climate, there are a lot of people who we just look at and assume things about them based on their race, gender, ethnicity, their height, or anything like that and any time that I am with Bruce I need to not do that with other people.” Stephens explains, “That, just like Bruce, he is big, but actually is a giant teddy bear, so I think that it is very unique and that I have him to remind me of that on a regular basis.”