We were so close... so close to 20.
I really thought we were going to make it. Our little old man was just defying all the odds.
I can remember being at the vet when he was 15 & telling the vet that we were just really wanting him to get to 17 years old. The vet just honestly couldnt believe it when we not only made 17 years old, but 18... & then 19. & my poor little man just was ready to go - 3 months & 1 day before his 20th birthday. He was a fighter... to the very end.
So how did we get Bruno? Funny you should ask.
We're a Big dog family - especially love Aussies so much... but more than that, we just love dogs... and when someone that Ricky works with was trying to find a home for a dog, she knew Ricky was
A friend of hers had this Cairn Terrier who was 4 years old & she loved him but had to move to an apartment that wouldnt take animals. I'm not really sure of the details because I would just find another apartment... but even more how i know this little fur ball was meant to be in our family.
We weren't even sure what a Cairn Terrier was! Thanks Google for letting us know that that was the type of dog Toto was in Wizard of Oz.
So Ricky went after work in 2005 & met with the lady to pick him up & all his belongings. I was sitting on the front porch with Sydney & Buffy & Julie & her dog Pippin was with us, & we were all waiting to meet the newest member of our family.
I'll never forget Ricky getting out of the car & just giving me a look. He said, "This is not the type of dog I was expecting".... I WAS IN LOVE. Ricky kept saying, "this is the ugliest dog I've ever seen in my life" - he was joking about it but it was a totally different dog that we were used to.
Bruno came up the drive way & Sydney & Buffy ran out to greet him.... & he snapped the heck back at both of the dogs. We soon found out he wanted to be in charge. Boss the big dogs around. He totally had little man syndrome.
Bruno was also our first boy we ever had.... so the marking of everything was a habit we had to break fast. Ricky kept saying, WE WILL NEVER HAVE ANOTHER BOY DOG AGAIN! ... fast forward & yes, Harvey & Ernie are boy dogs... so never say never.
Since every dog in our home usually ends up being Ricky's dog, & with Bruno being snippy & wanting to be control of the 2 big dogs, he sort of found that I would baby him & give him attention while the other dogs would go to their daddy.... so Bruno just sort of naturally became my boy.
He would want me to hold him all the time. I would knit & he would bark until he could get in my lap. He slept with me, tucked either up by my head or he'd make a little nest in between my knees & then I'd be stuck there the entire night.
He had come with the name Bruno & he knew it.... but I added in Dean as his middle name because that's Ricky's middle name. I got a kick out it especially because Ricky always acted like he just couldnt stand Bruno. Dont let him fool you though - he was totally a fan of Bruno's - no doubt.
Its crazy to think how long Bruno has been in our family. He's been with us since 2005 & our grands didnt even come into this world for years after... so he's been a big part of our family
|One of the few pis we have of all the girls|
|Bruno with our first grandson|
|With one of the twins|
|Sophia always has loved Bruno|
|With William a few years ago|
|With William just a few months ago|
He's been a big part of our world... no doubt.
I always said that I felt like Bruno needed to be mine because when I was growing up, I had a stuffed dog I used to sleep with every night. This dog, he was called my Sparky Dog. When I first saw Bruno, I even said, "That's my Sparky Dog!"... if he didnt know his name, I would have changed it ....
He was just meant to be mine.
Bruno loved to go on walks - especially when we'd go into the wood. He's sniff & sniff - the terrier in him. He'd love to dig - he just loved the outside.
I can remember one time, I'd take him to the park & a couple that was way down the path, they were walking towards me - when we got to passing each other - they both started laughing. They stopped me & said, "I'm so sorry, we saw you down the path & we thought you were walking a pot belly pig" - ahh - my poor chubby boy. He really was my boy.
|Look at that hanging belly|
As Bruno got older, he just refused to walk around the whole park. He would get about half way & he would lay down & you'd have to DRAG him to get him to move at all. So I'd end up having to carry him the rest of the way back to the car & man, that boy was SOLID & heavy. He trained US to take him on walks that made him happier. All the enjoyment - no energy required.
When we got Bruno, he came with a stuff penguin, whose name was Piggy. We didnt name it folks - but Bruno knew his Piggy.... he LOVED his Piggy. I cant tell you how many times I had to re-sew Piggy because every night... EVERY NIGHT... Bruno had to sleep with him like a baby would. He would hold Piggy in between his paws & he would suck on its face or head like a bottle. It was really the cutest thing ever.
I do think Bruno was closest with Buffy when we first got here. I think Buffy had more tolerance for him than any of the dogs... but Bruno was sad when Buffy left us. & then we ended up getting Harvey Dent. Again, another 'bigger' dog - Bruno didn't care. He'd put Harvey in his place... & it was funny to see Harvey grow so much bigger than Bruno & still be scared to death of this little white fur ball of a dog.
It was right around the time we got Harvey that I noticed that Bruno wasn't seeing as good - that his eyes were getting cloudy.
It didnt stop him though. He still wandered the back yard, still would roam, still knew his way around the house.
We had the vet check his eyes & she said he could see shadows... but we really knew he lost his vision when he fell down the steps. One of the worst sounds we could ever hear.... he was totally fine. I guess they say when you arent expecting an accident, you're so limber? He was just like that. We saw it on our home cameras - he bounced right back up & kept on walking.... but we knew then how bad his eyes had gotten. I mean, at this point, he's around 15 years old. What can you expect?
By the time we got Ernie - Bruno was completely blind... so Ernie would get in Bruno's face & love on him & lick him & run around him & Bruno had no idea what was happening. Ernie thought he had a new buddy... the only dog Bruno never yipped at.
It was something taking care of Bruno the last 5-6 years. We had such a struggle with his skin allergies & all the shampoos & baths & diets we had to try. The ONLY way I've brought meat in my home & would slow cook up batches of food for him... which in the end, we found out made him worse (UGH) - but we did all we could to make him happy as an old man.
Even in his old age - Bruno still loved his time outside - even if it was in a stroller...
He loved being held - he loved the sun on his face - he loved the sound of commotion around him - he loved bath time because he knew there were towel snuggles afterwards - he loved being groomed - he loved just any attention & being close to someone.
As he got older & his little hips started getting bad & he has issues walking, we still didnt give up - because we could see he still enjoyed life. He still would lift that head up & try to find me when he'd hear my voice - he'd still eat & he'd still want that time to be held.....So we found his little walker that gave him independence until the very end.
It's crazy how much our lives revolved around him the past few years... with his special diets... with having to watch him walk with his blindness .. with having to make sure he wouldnt tilt his walker when he would roam the living room or the back porch... even feeding him was a big thing because he couldnt see his bowl. We'd have to hold him & direct him to his bowl every night. Feeding time could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour on some nights. ... We would always be happy to do it for him
Our kitchen has turned into the Bruno Ward of a hospital towards the end too... we had a HUGE kennel in the middle of our floor & we all just learned to walk & maneuver around it. Even when family came up - everyone just knew Bruno was center stage in our home. We weren't giving up on him because he was old & it took a lot of time & effort to care for him... he earned it with all the love he gave us through the years.
We had seen that Bruno was getting more feeble over the months - which meant more time of us holding him & kissing him & making him comfortable. He wanted to sleep more - but he'd still know when 7 would come because that is dinner time around these parts for the dogs.
... but on the 29th...last Wednesday ... it was time for his little body to just be ready to give up on him.
Most days since I've been working from home, I've been taking him & putting him in his walker when I sign off from work. We'd either walk up & down the drive way - or we'd walk in the back yard where he could hear the aussies running around him... or I'd sit & read & rock his walker back & forth.
So when I got off work, I had gone to wake him up & he raised his head. I lifted him &hugged him &kissed him & he always did this stretch thing with his neck. I kept rubbing his neck & thought he needed a blanket for our stroller time because it was pretty chilly that day. We walked & got a blanket & I had just kept kissing him & rubbing his neck. I got him all wrapped up in it.....
.. & then he peed on me. That was different. He has never done that. I held him away from me to make sure he was done peeing... & then I yelled at Ricky to come hold him while I changed my shirt. Ricky was in the back part of the house & said, HOLD ON... I yelled back, I cant hold on, I'm covered in pee.... so I took Bruno & laid him down on Zoe's bed.
When I laid him down.... I just stared. He laid down differently. I just stood there & stared at him... & I said so calm "Ricky, I think Bruno just died".... Ricky was walking down the hallway & said, "Yeah, right".... then I kept staring & my voice got a little panic in it & I said, I THINK HE JUST DIED... Ricky came running & Bruno was indeed gone.
I found out later that when he was peeing.... that's probably when he passed away.
He hadn't flinched - made a sound - didnt moan - didnt jerk - nothing... he passed away in my arms while I was hugging him & kissing him.
I was devastated... but also so thankful this is how my little old man left this world. In my arms - being loved on all over. Him passing on his own terms & with no pain & struggle.
Ricky picked him back up & wrapped him & just held him a few more minutes just to make sure Bruno knew he wasn't alone in case he was still in there....
Then we headed out to find a burial spot for him in our woods. We found a really nice place that we can sit in our rocking chairs on the back part of our property & it'll be right next to him. We're going to go out & get some head stones for him.... & also for Buffy & Sydney. We have their ashes & we're going to bury them back there with Bruno. The original 3....
Our neighbor was so wonderful to come help Ricky dig the hole... & while I was cleaning up the kitchen - Ricky came to get me to say goodbye to Bruno.
We took his Piggy & put with him... & it was so weird because it had been a pretty rainy, gray day that day... & when we put Bruno & his piggy to rest & started filling up the hole, the sun came out & it broke through the trees right where a sun ray was right on top of Ricky. I said, I think Bruno is letting you know he's OK. We both stood there for a bit & cried & started talking about him chasing after Sydney & Buffy & letting him know HE'S BACK!!!!... & he could SEE - & RUN!!! No more walker needed. No more special diet food. No more itchy skin. No more blindness... I have to believe God is a good God & lets our animals enjoy the freedom of early bodies as well to enjoy a Heaven of His creation.
Coming back in the house & finishing cleaning up... that's always just heart wrenching.
Walking into the kitchen to see such EMPTINESS.... so unbelievably hard.
... & our lives have changed. We're now down to 3 dogs. Our poor Zoe has been super sad. She'll be 15 herself & she's been with Bruno since day 1 of her coming to our home. Dogs grieve too.
So yeah... we're still sad. We miss our boy... we always will... Grateful for the long life & all the joy he brought us in all the time we did have with him.
Momma loves you Bruno Dean!