ANAHEIM, Calif. - A California police dog hailed as a hero after being shot in the line of duty has been reunited with its partner.

Bruno, a six-year veteran with the Anaheim Police Department, took a bullet to the face on March 20 while searching for a suspect who fired at probation officers in La Palma, Calif.

After being shot, the German shepherd returned to his handler, Officer RJ Young, “whimpered once and was ready to return to the action,” according to a statement from the department.

“He’s a hero,” Capt. Mark Cyprien said in the statement.

Young was able to visit Bruno for the first time on March 24.

“The best part of my day was when I got to lay down with him for 10 minutes,” Young was quoted as saying on the Orange County Police Canine Association’s Facebook page.

The Facebook post, which had a picture of Young hugging Bruno for the first time since the shooting, received nearly 25,000 likes and was shared more than 5,000 times.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

According to the Anaheim police website, Bruno is a rare case — no other Anaheim K-9 has been shot or killed in the line of duty.

Bruno was injured after he tracked down the suspect who then opened fire. Police returned fire and killed the gunman, authorities said.

The bullet entered the dog’s mouth, shattered his jaw and ended up less than an inch from his heart.

The police department devoted a page on their website for “Bruno Updates,” providing developments on the dog’s recovery.

The most recent update, posted on March 28, says Bruno’s damaged lungs are functioning properly and he’s healing as planned.


“Those of us at the police department are touched by the unbelievable outpouring of support from the community and across the nation and world,” Lt. Tim Schmidt said in a news statement. “Bruno did his job this week, locating a dangerous suspect and very likely saving officers’ lives. And since then, he has shown a remarkable will to live.”