On the 15th of February 2019 we received a phone call from a distressed vet whose client had brought in a beautiful 2 year old Labrador Shepherd crossbreed to be put to sleep.
Bruno’s owner was struggling on her own with young children including a 6 month old baby and could no longer walk him and give him what he needed. He had been purchased as a gift for the 4 year old child and had been given no socialisation, the vets and staff could see that he was sweet boy who was just frightened and in need of a fresh start; their compassion saved his life.
The outside world and strangers terrified him, he was so overwhelmed when he arrived the same day in the back of the Medivet van having been left by a very anxious owner and taken to kennels for the first time.
After 3 days he had gotten used to everyone here and was starting to form bonds with the volunteers and kennel staff, he began to go out on walks and show us his how much he loved the company of other dogs. We quickly learned that he loves water! The paddling pool, puddles, water bowls, anything he could find to splash about and lay in, his mother was a Labrador and we were seeing the breed traits come through! He started to bring us toys and developed a love of tennis balls and anything with a squeaker!
Bruno met more and more volunteers until his confidence grew so much that he was approaching new people without nervously barking and started to relate strangers to positive experiences, in his previous home his Shepherd instincts from his father’s side became unmanageable for them and confusing for him! He’s a big strong lad but a softie on the inside, to this day he is still easily spooked by feathers on the ground!
Bruno went from strength to strength, his instincts to protect his family and his nervous owner were under control and he began learning and working every day to build positive bonds with his handlers and feel safe and secure in himself too.
He had been part of many advertising campaigns on many social media platforms showing people what a good boy he is he still didn’t have his perfect forever home!
As a small charity we had been running for nearly 14 years but only began to use social media the previous year, we didn’t yet have a huge platform from which to share our dogs and his face just didn’t far enough out there. He had been attracting lots of Labrador experienced homes with his jaw dropping good looks but he needed a bigger audience of Shepherd experienced homes who would be able to understand his guarding instincts and continue his training.
In 9 months of rehabilitation he went from a nervous boy who peed on his feet when he was greeted and ran away with his hackles up, to a confident bouncy hooligan with huge paws and a huge heart to match, it didn’t take long to come shining through!
The biggest dog rehoming charities move their residents to different branches to give them a new audience every few months, this has a proven track record of having great results. We don’t have multiple centres so we tried multiple social media platforms, events, and started advertising through Pets at Home when we were awarded Charity of the Year at the Pitsea Store earlier that year, still no luck for Bruno!
After a long team discussion with our committee members, trustees, dog walking volunteers and the boarding kennel staff, we agreed that we had to give Bruno a new opportunity… he was so ready for adoption!
We asked for advice from German Shepherd Rescue Elite and they had an idea… we arranged for Bruno to be signed over to them for the advertising he needed to complete his rescue journey and they even kindly let our Canine Care Coordinator Jen join their volunteer dog walking team to keep working with him.
Everything went perfectly, during his first week there he had so much fun and even had the honour of meeting RPD Finn and his Handler Dave Wardell, finally getting the social media attention he deserved and the perfect forever home!
Bruno still sends updates which you can catch up with on Facebook and Instagram.