Jason's Blog

A collection of random musings.


20 November 2022

Bruno smiling

This past week, on November 14, 2022, we had to say goodbye to our longtime companion of 17½ years, Bruno. It’s been tough adjusting to life without him. I wanted to honor him in some way and thought a blog post would be a nice way to pay tribute, capture some memories and reflect about what he taught me.

Bruno was born on May 10, 2005, about 6 months before his mom, Felicia, and I started our relationship. He managed to escape from his yard and was struck by a vehicle. He was seriously hurt and required emergency surgery to repair his hip. Some sort of metal plate was inserted and he was sent home to recuperate.

My first memory of him was when Felicia brought him to my apartment in a cardboard box. He was such a little guy; basically immobile and confined to the box so his hip could heal. Bruno relished any attention he could get and was more than willing to give you his love in return. We became fast friends. I was not alone in that regard. To meet Bruno was to love him. There were zero exceptions to that rule.

He made a full recovery, metal plate and all, and was there to walk the bride down the aisle 6 years later in our 2011 backyard wedding. Somehow he managed to sneak out of the air-conditioned house and make himself part of the ceremony. He appeared in front of the bride in the staging area (I don’t know what else to call it), and led Felicia and her dad by about 10 feet all the way down the aisle. Then he went and hung out with my stepson, Michael, to watch the proceedings. It was a very hot day - topped out at 103+. Too hot for our cake to survive, but not hot enough to discourage Bruno.

The wedding was over 11 years ago now. Pretty good run for a dude with a metal hip. Bruno lived a life much larger than his body, and his passing has left a hole in our household much larger than his physical form. He lived a life worth celebrating.

A few years ago, when we suddenly lost our cat, Jocko. My friend, Tim, suggested writing out 10 things that I had learned from Jocko. I found going through that process to be beneficial and am going to do that again here, for Bruno.

Here are 10 things that Bruno taught me

  1. There is magic in letting someone know you are happy to see them
    Bruno always did a little 5-step dance when he would see me. He'd end it by raising his paw into the air for a shake. Even towards the end, when I knew he didn't feel great, he'd always make an effort to greet me. Seeing his little dance would immediately put a smile on my face, regardless of what else was going on.

  2. You don't have to be big to have fun
    Bruno wasn't the biggest dog, by any means, but he never let that stand in the way of doing what he wanted to do. One of the most common complements he received was "what a little stud!".

  3. If you play your cards right, you can obtain the unobtainable
    Bruno was so beloved, that he got something that shouldn't even exist - a designated pillow in between Mom and Dad's to sleep on at night. Don't ask me how he pulled it off, but I can assure you that he did.

  4. Be bold and adventurous
    He was never one to shy away from a new adventure. He loved car rides, meeting new people and doing new things. As a side effect of this spirit, he disappeared for about 5 days one time. He somehow managed to get himself locked into a neighbor's barn. We were distraught and so relieved when we got him back. He just resumed life like nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

  5. Obstacles are temporary
    Aside from being hit by the car, Bruno also survived Parvovirus and suffered his share of challenges as he got older: severely limited hearing, very poor vision, and no teeth for the past several years. Bruno would meet each challenge and either push through it, or find a way to adapt and move on.

  6. Meet others where they are and have fun together
    I don't recall Bruno harming another animal his entire life. He's played with canines, felines, rabbits and more. He was always awesome at adapting his type of play to meet the situation - which led to both animals having a great time.

  7. Setting a good example is important
    Bruno was the eldest of our pack. He often had to defer to his larger siblings, but he always got along well with them and gave them a prime example of how to behave.

  8. Fun at your expense is still fun (for somebody)
    It seems he managed to destroy most of the proof somehow, but every now and then his mother would bring home some silly outfit to humiliate him. Bruno went along with the routine, even though you could tell he wasn't a fan. Pure selflessness.

  9. Sometimes, you need to express your feelings
    Life isn't all roses and butterflies. For example, sometimes you end up with a haircut you just aren't happy with. It's ok to admit it. It might be even better to express your displeasure with some intense eye contact.

  10. It's ok to get old
    Bruno aged gracefully, and entirely. By the end, it seemed like more things had issues than were working properly. He rarely let on that anything was bothering him, though you could tell he just didn't have the same energy he used to and wasn't feeling all that great. He still had love to give, and he gave it every chance he got.

I hesitate to call that a top ten list, because it’s just a snapshot of what is top of mind right now. Bruno will continue to bring a smile to my face any time I think of him (which will be often), and he wll forever own a piece of our hearts.

bruno memories pets