Christmas Comes Early: The Story of Jack Miller

How a little terrier’s bucket list led him to Santa

Meet Jack Miller, the internet-famous dog who made every final day count by checking items off a bucket list after being diagnosed with cancer last October. After discovering a tumor in his jaw, Jack’s veterinarian warned his family it was possible Jack might not make it to Christmas.

Determined to help their pup get the most out of the time he had left, Jack’s parents created a bucket list. Members of the community in Jack’s hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina eagerly supported his journey. With their help, Jack was able to enjoy numerous adventures, including going on a boat ride, being a police dog for a day, trick-or-treating in a costume and even surfing.

After learning about Jack, PetSmart sent him a care package of his favorite things, including blankets, stuffed animals, soft treats and broth that Jack would be able to eat. But then we decided to take it one step further. We wanted to make sure Jack could enjoy creating special Christmas memories with his family one last time by allowing him to get photos taken with Santa.

On November 17, PetSmart associates at the Wilmington store threw Jack and his parents an early Christmas celebration, complete with Santa and presents. Following the event, store leader Rob Lissor said, “It just brought tears to everybody. And for us to be able to pull this together in such a short amount of time, just made it worthwhile.”

Jack’s dad, Jeremy Miller, told People Magazine, “If I could do anything, I’d keep him until Christmas, but I can’t. In my heart, I don’t know if he’s going to make it.”

The early Christmas celebration was covered by the local ABC and NBC affiliates, as well as the local paper, bringing further awareness to Jack and every item he was able to cross off his bucket list.

Jack bravely continued to fight his cancer past December and was able to enjoy Christmas with his family for a second time.