Longville, Minnesota — In 2004, a man drove up the driveway of Debbie and Larry LaValle’s rural home and handed them a lost puppy that he thought belonged to them. Even though he wasn’t theirs, they found the pup so irresistible that they had to adopt him. They named him “Bruno” and welcomed him to their family. But they soon learned that Bruno had a peculiar habit.
Just like how it is difficult for human beings to give up certain fond memories, so it is for dogs and other animals too. Once being a stray, Bruno had made many friends with different people from all over Longville and he couldn’t forget about them.
The Lavalles initially tried to confine Bruno to their property but he had other plans. He would escape and walk 4 miles into town to check on all his old friends and spend time with them. He did this virtually every single day.
He usually stops at certain places where he receives special attention — the library, city hall, real estate offices, gas station, and certain grocery stores where deli workers would feed him meat that they saved just for him.
“He’s our buddy, we kind of watch out for him the best way we can. Last week he came in, stayed about an hour and a half or two hours.”
He usually stays in town anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours before leaving. The Lavalles initially wanted to confine him, but Bruno would embark on his daily trek into town whenever he had the opportunity. They soon understood his habits so they began to allow him to come and go as he pleased, especially when they realized that he’d always come back home.
Sometimes some of the couple’s neighbors or acquaintances would call to notify them that they have just found Bruno in town, but they would be stunned when they heard that he would come back home on his own.
Doing this for about 12 years not only made Bruno popular, it also got him into the heart of many residents of Longville who see him as a kindred spirit. Sometimes on his way back home, he would get a lift from one resident or the other.
Bruno is loved by the entire town. But it is unfortunate that he may not be around much longer as he is getting old and his gait has become a little stiff due to old age. He does not walk as fast as he used to walk and his 4-mile trek now takes him a longer.
As a mark of appreciation and recognition, he was honored like a faithful town ambassador last year. A carved wooden statue was erected in a park on the city’s main street in his honor. A Facebook fan page was also created for him. What a well deserved honor given to a wonderful Longville ambassador.