Popping the question is a pretty big deal, so why not include your beloved cat or dog? Joe did, and we think his proposal to his high school sweetheart, Justina — with their Dalmatian, Bella — is about as adorable as it gets. You're guaranteed to fall in love with their story, too!

Unleashed Love

It was a beautiful summer morning when Joe and Justina decided to make the early trek to York Beach in Maine, where Bella loves to play fetch and swim. As soon as they hit the sand, Bella took off in a mad dash, ball in mouth, sprinting through the water. Justina couldn't understand why Joe kept nervously trying to call Bella back to them. Little did she know that Joe was about to change their lives — and Bella was the key.

To Joe's relief, Bella finally she made her way back. As Justina reached to grab the ball from her, Joe said, "Check out the new tag I made for Bella." That's when Justina saw the heart-shaped tag that read, "Will you marry me?" When she turned around, Joe was waiting on one knee with the ring.

Justinaand Joe EngagementPhoto Source: Justina Rowe

"Owning a dog has strengthened and enhanced our relationship in too many ways to count," Justina explained. Caring for a high-energy dog like Bella has taught them that they make an awesome team and that together they can handle a life-changing commitment, so it made perfect sense to include her in the engagement.

From popping the question to walking down the aisle, Bella will be a part of it all. Running, hiking, and swimming with their pup are not only fun adventures, but have also helped get Joe and Justina into wedding shape. When the big day arrives, Bella will take her place of honor, escorting the flower girl down the aisle. "It only seemed right, considering she was such a big part of the engagement and our lives!"

Thinking of including your own cat or dog in the proposal? Check out these three tips to make the most of your magical moment.

1. Keep It Simple

Unless your pup is professionally trained, skip any theatrical ideas of having him perform on cue, and opt for something easy. Attaching the ring to your dog's collar makes for a classic proposal and is easy enough for just about any dog to handle.

10_18_14_1Photo Source: Katherine McAdoo via Flickr 

2. Choose the Right Setting

In order to ensure that everything goes smoothly, keep your pet's personality in mind when determining the best spot to drop down on one knee. If your pup is low-energy, don't expect him to scale Everest for a mountain-top proposal. However, if your dog is normally your companion for excursions, then a proposal at your favorite destination could be the perfect fit.

10_18_14_2Photo Source: Tom Blackwell via Flickr

3. Get Creative

Having your pet involved instantly makes your proposal playful. Build on the excitement and make the moment as fun and cute as possible. Get creative with your approach. Create a scavenger hunt or trail of treats, for example, to lead your pup — and beau — to the ring.

10_18_14_3Photo Source: Justina Rowe

4. Proposals Aren't Just for Dogs

There's no rule that says dogs are the only romantics — cats can help make your proposal purr-fect, too! Again, simplicity is the key to avoiding any snafus while also making it fun for your cat.

10_18_14_4Photo Source: Stephen Dann via Flickr

Did you include your pet when you popped the question? Share your romantic story in the comments!