Bruno the dog of Longville, Minnesota died how he lived: on the road.
It’s fitting perhaps but that doesn’t make it any less sad for the most famous dog in the state. Bruno was so famous he inspired t-shirts, parades, folk songs and even a statue on Main Street.
For the residents of the town, Bruno was such a fixture he became a hero.
He walked 4 miles into town each day and absorbed all of the love he could find.
Critterfiles founder Dawn Walton saw a social media post last Friday that made her think of Bruno’s great story and his perpetual journey.
Two days later, this happened: On Sunday, a driver struck and killed Bruno, 14, as he made his daily walk.
The people in the northern Minnesota town of 150 and his owner, however, have no regrets about letting Bruno maintain his free-range lifestyle to the end.
“A lot of people said if you’d kept him inside he’d have never gotten run over,” said Larry LaVallee, Bruno’s owner. “Well, they don’t know what kind of dog he was. He was a free spirit.”
LaVallee said Bruno was a social butterfly, “the most laid-back dog I’ve ever seen.”
He suspected he was part Chesapeake Bay Retriever and part wolf, he said.
It seems everyone had a Bruno story. Once in town, he would wander all day, napping in the real estate office, waiting for scraps of meat behind the grocery store and stopping for a doughnut or ice cream treat.
“Honestly, he never would have stayed inside,” said Teri Borkowski, whose family has lived near Longville for 20 years. “He would have found a way out to go visit.”
Borkowski said Bruno was more like a reincarnated human than a dog.
He really didn’t care who gave him love,” she said. “He’d just take it.”
More than 14 years ago, a stray brown puppy showed up at the LaVallee family’s home. They decided to keep him, naming him Bruno.
LaVallee said he tried to keep the dog tied up, but Bruno resisted.
He wouldn’t have it,” he said. “He got to the end of the rope and he’d hang himself.”