Here’s his story:
“We met this stud on Saturday after he was surrendered (found animal). What a gorgeous beast!!! Very sweet also! If your rescue is looking for a big boy like this, please consider Bruno. Please network him and get him out of BARC quickly.” – These were the words spoken at Bruno’s intake at the shelter.
I just happened to be at the shelter photographing dogs for their website when he caught my eye. He was in a run across the yard. He was standing still staring at me. I felt it. It felt strangely familiar. This was exactly how I met Dudley, my favorite boy. And he looked very similar. I was drawn to him.
I walked in his run and he walked over to me. He leaned his body into me and I rubbed him all over. His whole body relaxed. I spent a lot of time with him. He was a gentle soul. No noises. Quiet, calm, sweet, and handsome. I took his picture and then walked him around on a leash. What a pleasure. Didn’t pull at all. When I stopped, he stopped. When I told him to sit, he did. A+. Superstar.
A week went by and he was still there. Why was he not adopted? His looks alone should have gotten him out of the shelter.
When I uploaded his photo, I read the notes on him. It wasn’t good: Bruno managed to lift the gate in his kennel four times and escaped. He has been seen fence fighting with other dogs. Bruno climbed out of his kennel several times. He doesn’t go anywhere and he is put back. Bruno has learned how to open the kennel door and lets himself out. Outreach can send out a plea but recommend he be put to sleep.
Not good! When Bruno arrived at the shelter he was 90 pounds. He was now down to 70 pounds. I called a couple of people and plead his case. They told me because he was “dog aggressive” and a Houdini, there was nothing to be done but put him done. I begged but to no avail. I was told no one would adopt him and no rescue group would take him. He was relegated to a tiny kennel with a top on it. A lock was placed on the door so he couldn’t escape.
I must admit, I lost faith. I hardly ever give up on a dog once I discover him or her. In fact, I never do. When I set my sights on a dog at the shelter to rescue, I always see him or her through till the end. They deserve that. But this time I did give up and I’m ashamed of that. I decided to let him go. I stopped checking on his status. Eventually, Rescue Pets Movement saw my social media marketing on him and decided to give him a chance. I thought it was too late but I checked and he was still breathing. They tagged him but asked me for help. I called a behaviorist friend of mine and she agreed to see him.
Bruno has a willingness to work to solve problems, and ability to learn quickly. Dogs like Bruno are often training challenges because pet owners hold them back due to their inexperience with training, lack of ability to observe the dog’s behavior and indications that he is moving toward doing what they want, and slow reinforcement skills. For these reasons, dogs like Bruno often end up misunderstood and accidentally trained to do things owners don’t like. This is a human problem. We know Bruno is stressed at the shelter. He appears to be currently expressing his stress by suppressing it, unlike dogs who express stress by appearing hyperactive, barking frantically, and otherwise moving a lot. Bruno uses space well; though he likes to be near people, he does not tend to touch, lean, jump up, etc. Bruno is a quick learner, young, adaptable, clear in his communication, and people-oriented. Bruno has enormous potential and needs an owner willing to explore those possibilities with him.
That’s all I needed to hear. He was my mission. I would save him. I went to the shelter several times to work with him. He was not doing well there. Then, the shoe dropped. Rescued Pets Movement no longer had a rescue group to take him. They untagged him. He was now on the chopping block. Not on my watch!
Several amazing people saw Bruno’s plight on facebook. It turned out that he was a Rhodesian Ridgeback. I learned something new. Rhodesian Ridgeback people move heaven and earth to rescue their pups. And they did. They immediately hatched a plan to rescue this beautiful boy. First things first, I had to go get him. He was on the euthanasia list for that day. I ran over to get him. He was not in his kennel. Was I too late? They told me he was in surgery. But he had already been neutered. We looked. He was not there.
We finally found him. He was squirreled away in a small kennel. I was with a wonderful BARC employee who really cares about the animals. When we found Bruno, he had punched out a small grating in the bottom of the door and was pulling a fifty gallon heavy plastic garbage bag filled with trash through the small opening. I’ll admit, that took some talent. I started laughing. The BARC employee looked at me and said, “You need to get him out of here now.” That’s just what I did.
I took him to my office. He was handsome but pitiful at the same time. Skin and bones. But he was happy to be out of the shelter and just as sweet as can be. We fed him and gave him water. We took him outside and he did his business. Then he rested by my desk the rest of the day.
A nice young lady came at the end of the day and took him to his foster home. I think Bruno was bigger than she was. She took him to a couple’s house who had five Rhodesian Ridgebacks. He was separated from the pack to give him time to decompress from being at the shelter. They spent a lot of time with him and it paid off. He showed his true self. I visited with them the following Sunday and found out how truly wonderful these folks are. They took Bruno in, no questions asked, and treated him as one of their own – if not better.
He stayed with them for several weeks and then they let me take him to the ranch to stretch his legs and remember how to be a dog. I had only taken one other foster dog out there. His name was RJ. I believe this is the time when RJ turned the corner. Same with Bruno. He chased rabbits, dipped his feet in the river, and went exploring. He slept by my side at night to protect me and the house. He is a manly, mannerly dog. But he has his goofy side. He likes to roll over and receive belly rubs.
But unfortunately, we had to come back. When I dropped him off at his foster home, I kissed him on his head and said, “I hope I never see you again.” I probably won’t see him ever again. It’s a good thing – a send off. He lasted about a week until a nice couple professed their love for him and wanted to give him a home. The problem: They lived in Florida. The selfless, wonderful fosters put him in their truck and drove him down there on a fourteen hour drive. Of course, Bruno checked the tires beforehand with his foster. I have the pictures to prove it. Truck safety – it’s important.
Bruno made it and is having a great time. He is loved and finally has a home where he is appreciated. It takes special people to adopt a big, silly, sweet, dog like Bruno. I know for sure he won’t disappoint them with the love and devotion he will show them for his entire life. People can learn a lot from dogs.
A lot of folks had to come together to save this boy. I find it amazing and joyful that there are people who will drop everything to help out an animal in need. It’s good for the soul and I’m a firm believer in Karma.
Oh, you’re probably wondering why I spelled his name Bruneaux in the title of this blog. His loving foster and I decided he may be a Cajun so we changed it up a bit. We had a lot of fun laughing about and with Bruno. And I got to meet some great people I now call friends. And believe me, I don’t have many.
Bon Voyage Bruneaux. Have a great life.