He might just be Saskatchewan’s luckiest dog.
Bruno has come an incredibly long way after being trapped at the bottom of a well near Estevan for 27 days.
His family picked him up Thursday and introduced the seven-year-old pup with a bandaged paw to media. Owners Cindy and John Billesberger said they’re just happy to have their dog back – and so are all of his canine friends.
“We have two other labs, so they actually went through a period of mourning,” Cindy said. “It was actually quite depressing in our house. They were just kind of on their beds, not doing anything.”
Bruno’s saga began in September. When the Billesbergers noticed he was missing, daily searches took place and members of the community joined.
Nearly a month later, owner John was on a walk just a half mile from home when he was drawn to a grassy area. He thought he heard a noise, so he called one of the other dogs over, who just stared at the ground.
“I went over there, through the tall grass, pulled the grass aside and then there, down about 10 feet, was Bruno,” Billisberger said. “He couldn’t bark or anything so my son jumped down and there was nothing to him.”
The dog managed to stay hydrated all those days with moisture pooled from rain and snow. But when he was found, Bruno’s paws were stuck, dried in mud. Veterinarians confirm he had nothing to eat, and lost about 40 pounds.
The skin-and-bones Bruno was first taken to an animal hospital in Estevan, before being admitted to the intensive care unit at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. There doctors began the slow process of refeeding Bruno, and administered laser treatments to his damaged paw pads.
Cases of dogs surviving so long without food are rare, let alone making a recovery like Bruno. Cindy said his story was picked up around the world, and the outpouring of support has been incredible.
“People have been sending gifts, baby blankets and even money,” she said.
Doctors said Bruno still has a lot of weight to recover and his injuries aren’t fully healed, but going home is a step in the right direction.