Officer R.J. Young was finally able to hug his partner again after the K9 officer was shot in the line of duty last week. 7-year-old Bruno is a 6-year veteran of the Anaheim, CA, police force. On March 20, he was shot in the face while chasing down a suspect believed to have fired at probation officers.
The suspect was killed in the ensuing gunfire, but no one else was hurt because of Bruno. “There’s no doubt in my mind that either me or somebody else would’ve gotten hurt,” said Young.
“[He was shot] point blank, it was a horrific thing to have to watch,” Young told ABC News. “My entire world came tumbling down in the matter of a second.”
Bruno was bleeding profusely but never made a sound as he returned to Young’s side. Young tried to stop the bleeding and rushed his partner to the emergency veterinarian hospital where the dog immediately went into surgery.
The bullet had shattered his jaw and lodged in his chest damaging a long and stopped less than an inch from his heart. But, miraculously, Bruno pulled through.
He underwent a second surgery on his jaw and lung on Friday, during which surgeons removed his breathing tube and reattached the bottom portion of his tongue. His doctors said he is lucky to be alive and is doing remarkably well considering what he’s gone through.
“I know my dog, I know my partner and he’s not going to let this get the best of him,” said Young, who said the bond between him and Bruno “unexplainable”.
“The surgery went really well. Removing the tube from the lung was a big step forward,” explained Young. “I know we have more surgeries ahead of us to reconstruct the jaw, but today was a good day for us. I just want him to heal so I can bring home.”
When Bruno is well enough to be released from hospital he will not be going back to work, but he will be going home with Young.
Young said, “He’s like a son to me. Bruno will be with me for the rest of my life.”