Bruno is a pit bull mix and has a lot of stereotypical characteristics of his breeding. Weighing in at close to 90 lbs, he’s extremely powerful and athletic. He’s also fiercely loyal, protective, sweet and gentle with his many friends. He’s a couch potato, LOVES to snuggle and is intensely emotional and extremely sensitive (even down to his skin & tummy). The other side of these charming qualities is that he can see danger where there is none and he sometimes acts before he thinks, often with stunning force.
Bruno was rescued from a pile of dead puppies in an awful place where we had likely been bred to be a bait dog. While he’s had a lot of love since then, he didn’t have proper training as a youngster and his fear based behaviors were encouraged with the thinking he was a “good guard dog”. Bruno had no concept of structure or rules, which scared him even more. Over the past few years, with calm, consistent care, he’s become a completely different animal. He loves his dog friends and is intensely bonded to his care takers - he blushes with pride when he learns new things and is so overjoyed when he’s praised. 99% of the time, Bruno is a perfect dog - but, in that rare other 1%, he’s caused some big trouble for himself and our other residents with his impulsive, prey driven behavior. He has injured other animals here and hurt himself as well. Finding another home for a dog of his type is a very complicated and unrealistic solution - if you look, you’ll find thousands of dogs like him up for adoption. It’s a loaded issue and we didn’t want to pass Bruno along, even if we could find him a suitable home. We did some careful research and experimentation and found that he’s actually very happy and comfortable wearing a muzzle when he’s in common areas of the sanctuary. This adjustment has given a huge upgrade in the amount of freedom he can enjoy and he gladly sticks his nose it in every morning to get his day started (he doesn’t wear it to eat his meals or sleep at night, which he does in an oversized crate). We make sure it’s clean, in good repair, fits him exactly right and never rubs his face or causes him any discomfort. It’s not necessarily a universal option for every dog - but, it’s been a great solution for Bruno.
As mentioned, Bruno has very sensitive, allergy prone skin as well as an easily irritated stomach. His hair will fall out in patches, he quickly gets ear infections when the weather changes and vomits when he eats anything other than food formulated specifically for gastrointestinal health. Bruno is definitely one of our more complicated residents but, with careful management, he’s blossoming into a lovely gentleman.