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Update: Bruno still ‘weeks away’ from coming home, handler says

While K-9 Bruno’s miraculous recovery from a gunshot wound took another step forward Friday, his handler said he is still likely “weeks away” from coming home.Bruno and RJ Young

Officer R.J. Young said he and his wife were relieved after learning doctors were successful in making progress toward repairing his shattered jaw and reconstructing his tongue.

But he said his partner would remain at the Yorba Regional Medical Hospital “for as long as he needs to rest.”

“I want him home as soon as possible,” Young said. “But he’ll be here until he can eat and drink on his own.”

There are also too many distractions at home, Young said.

“His lifestyle at home is very chaotic,” he said. “He goes 100 miles an hour, then crashes.”

Bruno was injured on March 20, when he located a suspect believed to have fired at probation officers. A gang member who had been released from prison 10 days earlier, the suspect opened fire, hitting Bruno in the face. Returning fire, officers killed the suspect.

R.J. Young said without Bruno “there’s no doubt in my mind that either me or somebody else would’ve gotten hurt.”

The round shattered Bruno’s jaw, and damaged part of his lung. X-Rays show just how much devastation the round caused. They also show how the round lodged within an inch of his heart. It was so close to his heart, officials said, that surgeons decided not to remove it.

His story has drawn international attention, and millions of views on Facebook and Twitter. This morning, Bruno and the Youngs were featured on ABC News’ program, Good Morning America. They were also featured on People Magazine’s website.

Young said he and his wife, Rachel, have been overwhelmed by the support. He said hopes more people will understand the role K-9 officers play in keeping their partners, police departments and communities safe.

“I’m grateful that something good is coming out of this,” he said.

Donations to help the Youngs fund Bruno’s long-term health 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.