Meet Bruno, a woolly lump of a cross-breed, making his way into town. He’s made the same four mile trip up Highway 84, Longville, Minnesota, every day for the last 12 years.
After his daily rounds, Bruno returns to owners Larry and Debbie LaVallee. Larry recalls the day he met Bruno. “A guy come in my driveway, and Bruno was a little pup…and he says, ‘I found your dog at the end of your driveway.’ I says, ‘Well he ain’t my dog.’” Larry took one look at the pup and decided to keep the stray.
And it seems Bruno liked to wander from the start.
“The first time I seen him in town, he almost beat me to town,” laughs Larry, who used to be Longville’s bin man. “I was picking garbage on the way, and I get in town, and I wasn’t there five minutes, and there’s Bruno.”
At first, the LaVallees tried to keep Bruno at home, chaining him up in the back garden. Larry says Bruno “almost hanged himself” trying to break free; so that was the end of that.
Bruno makes the same rounds every day, stopping at city hall, the library, an ice cream shop and a grocery store where workers sneak him scraps out the back door.
“He’s our buddy, we kind of watch out for him the best way we can,” says Patrick Moran, who owns an estate agents on Bruno’s route. “Last week he came in and stayed about two hours.”
Mary Tripp is another fond local who treats Bruno, saying, “Don’t you buy your best friend treats?” She continues, “He’s more friendly that most of the humans in town, and I’m not saying that in a negative way about the humans…He’s that lovable.” Tripp sometimes gives Bruno a ride home at the end of the day.
The LaVallees are used to getting phone calls from newcomers in town saying ‘we’ve got your dog’. And telling them to just let Bruno go; ‘he’ll find his own way home’.
Bruno always makes sure he looks both ways before crossing the road, too. “He’s got to have a guardian angel,” as Moran says.
“It’s just been his routine as far back as I know,” says resident Sharon Rouse, who watches Bruno lumber down the street from the window of her shop. “Everybody knows Bruno,” Rouse laughs, “may not know the people, but you’ll know Bruno.”
Bruno’s pace is slowing down. As Debbie says, “He’s getting old so you know he’s not going to be around a lot longer.” But Bruno’s legacy will live on. The town dedicated a carved wooden statute in his honour.
It reads, “Longville’s town dog and ambassador.” As Rouse says, “He is the mascot of Longville.” A town resident has even set up Bruno’s very own Facebook page if you want to follow his adventures.
Pictures and quotes from Kare 11.