Anaheim police K-9 Bruno was celebrated Tuesday as the beloved dog officially retired from service after a nearly two-month-long recovery from being shot while on duty.
"It's a bittersweet day. I'm proud of him. My dog's retiring, going out doing what he was supposed to do," Bruno's handler Officer R.J. Young said at the ceremony. "I'm excited to see what retirement's going to hold for him, and I'm also really saddened that we're not going to be together in the police car anymore."
Bruno was shot March 20 when he found a probationer hiding inside a trash bin. When the man opened fire, a bullet struck and shattered Bruno's lower jaw and re-entered his chest, missing his heart by less than an inch.
A six-year veteran of the Anaheim Police Department, Bruno retired during a special ceremony held at Tuesday evening's Anaheim City Council meeting. He sat atop a platform next to an emotional Young before receiving a standing ovation.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone. It's a bittersweet thing," Young said through tears as the crowd applauded. "But he's retiring on top."
Bruno's owner and partner admittedly struggled to watch his pet go through recovery, and gave an emotional interview after he saw the dog for the first time since he was struck by gunfire.
"That was the hard part...the look. I'll never get that out of my head," Young said in March. "It looked like...it was horrific, his injuries. It looked like half of his face was gone."
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Seven weeks after the shooting, the 7-year-old German shepherd was cheered on by a crowd waiting outside the hospital when he finally went home May 2.
"I would have never thought we would be here so quickly," Young said outside the hospital. "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."