After months of surgery since being shot in the line of duty, Anaheim police K-9 Bruno left the hospital side-by-side with his smiling handler, Officer RJ Young, on Friday, May 2, 2014.
Bruno, the beloved police K-9 who has spent more than a month at a hospital after being shot during a SWAT standoff with a gunman, was released to a crowd's applause on Friday.
Bruno was shot March 20 when he found a probationer hiding inside a trash bin. When the man opened fire on police, a bullet struck and shattered Bruno's lower jaw and re-entered his chest, missing his heart by less than an inch.
The gunman was killed when officers returned fire.
The 7-year-old German Shepherd made a brief appearance at a news conference Friday as he sprinted toward a waiting patrol car driven by his handler, Officer R.J. Young.
"I would have never thought we would be here so quickly," Young said. "I could never begin to say thank you enough for all the support, all the letters, the thoughts, the prayers."
"There's no doubt in my mind that that's what got Bruno through this."
Since the shooting, the K-9 officer has undergone several surgeries, including an emergency operation in early April.
Dr. Steven Dunbar said that his team worked tirelessly to help Bruno recover from his wounds.
"It's been around-the-clock, 24-hour care we've been providing for him," Dunbar said.
Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray said funds were being raised for two monuments dedicated to Bruno and the department's other K-9 officers and would be placed at two dog parks opening later this year.
Bruno served for the Anaheim Police Department for six years, but is headed to retirement now. A retirement ceremony is being held during a city council meeting on May 13.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to get him home," Young said. "To have my partner by my side again is going to be an absolutely amazing thing."