Jackson Hurst's New Love: His Dog Bear!

08/02/2011 at 09:00 AM EDT

There's something about the love between a man and his dog, and for Jackson Hurst, it's no different.

The Drop Dead Diva star has fallen hard for his new rescue puppy, a pit bull-Lab mix (with the possibility of mastiff, too) he recently adopted from the Atlanta Humane Society. "Bear is the light of my life right now," Hurst tells PEOPLE.

Bear wasn't so lit up when Hurst first encountered him at the shelter. "I saw him in the cage across the room, and I could see he was really sad and depressed," he says. "The thing was, nobody ever took him out of his cage."

The puppy's breed had worked against his adoption – that is, until Hurst came along. "He had been passed over constantly for a couple of weeks," Hurst says. "They said he barked for the first time when I picked him up. He started licking my face and completely came out of his shell."

Check out the rest of the video above to hear more on Jackson Hurst and his new puppy Bear.

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