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Bruno’s condition continues to improve; his story draws national and celeb attention

K-9 Officer Bruno’s recovery from a gunshot wound continues to tug at the heartstrings of the community – and the nation.Bruno

His handler, R.J. Young, said his condition is improving. He and his wife, Rachel, visited with Bruno for about 20 minutes Thursday, and said the surgeons who reconstructed his jaw are expected to give him a thorough examination tomorrow.

“We’ll know tomorrow whether he will get his chest tube out,” Young said. “If so that means his damaged lung is doing what it’s supposed to do.”

Also Thursday afternoon, a crew from the ABC News program Good Morning America (@GMA on Twitter) visited Orange County to interview the Youngs. The story is expected to air Friday morning during the 7 a.m. hour.

During the filming at the Yorba Regional Animal Hospital, where Bruno is still listed in critical condition, Kay Hill, of Riverside, showed up with her checkbook to make a donation to the Friends of the Anaheim Police K-9 Association.

She was elated to meet the Youngs – and to hear about Bruno’s improvement.

“I was touched by the story,” Hill said, hugging R.J. Young and handing him $100. “I saw him on TV this morning. We love you, Bruno.”

She’s not alone.

Rachel Young said students from dozens of elementary schools have sent stacks of cards with well wishes.

The story has also gone viral on social media. More than 1.3 million people have viewed it on Anaheim PD’s Facebook page – and it has reached more than four million Twitter accounts.

Among those tweeting their support: Celebrity actors John Stamos, Bo Derek and Shannon Tweed.

Bruno was injured on March 20, after he found a suspect who had allegedly shot at probation officers on Mayfair Avenue. The suspect, a gang member who had been released from prison 10 days earlier, opened fire, hitting him in the face. Returning fire, officers killed the suspect.

The round shattered his jaw, damaged part of his lung and is lodged less than an inch from his heart.

“To see Bruno’s reaction with R.J. is wonderful,” Rachel Young said. “Bruno spends more time with him than me.”

The Youngs said they have been overwhelmed by the public’s reaction and continued support.

“Each day is better than the last,” R.J. Young said. “He’s like a son to me. Bruno will be with me for the rest of my life.”

Donations can be made at any US Bank or on its website to the “Friends of the Anaheim Police Canine Association – Bruno Donation Account.” Money is also accepted via PayPal to foak9@hotmail.com.

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