Bruce has an underactive thyroid so he has struggled to keep his weight down and his glossy coat in the past but he looks great these days. He loves people, balls and the beach. He enjoys agility which he has been doing for 6 years since he was 3 years old at Dogwise, Rathangan, Co. Kildare. He has not competed in competitions as when he did try, he was overwhelmed by the experience so he does it just for fun and it keeps him fit. He likes other dogs if they want to play but otherwise he is not bothered and ignores them.
Here are a few stories about his life, passed on by his owner, Charlotte.
Bruce was 6 months old when he first met his owner, Charlotte. She was going for a walk with her friend, Fiona, along the Grand Canal in Tullamore and she saw a guy with a Boxer Dog puppy. She said to Fiona that she was thinking of getting a Boxer Dog so should she go and ask this guy where he got his puppy from as it looked like a healthy, happy dog. She ummed and ahhed and Fiona said she should. Once he was leaving the canal and walking through the car park she plucked up the courage to go and ask him. She called out across the car park “Hey, excuse me, can I ask you where you got your puppy from?”
He said he got him from a breeder in Banagher, Co. Offaly. She said she was looking to get a Boxer dog and told him that his puppy looked like a lovely dog. He then said something that was quite special. “Well God must be looking down on me today to bring you here to ask. I am renting right now and I have to move to a house that will not allow pets. Therefore I have to give him up and I have been holding off putting an advert into the newspaper as I will not know if the person will look after him right. I really am not able to do it. Would you consider taking him as then I would know that he will be looked after properly?”
After two more visits to see if it was right for Charlotte and the puppy, she adopted Bruce at the age of 7 months, and from that day, the two of them have been best friends.
Charlotte recently met a lady who was admiring Bruce when they visited Boora Parklands, Co. Offaly in September 2014. While they chatted she asked where Bruce came from and I told her. This breeder was her sister! She then told her that Bruce’s parents both died a few months apart last winter at the ages of 12 and 13. Her sister adored those dogs. She told a story that Bruce’s sister was taken to live in Galway. The man who took her contacted the breeder asking if she had any more puppies from those parents because he believed they were very special dogs and that it ran in their genes. The reason was that he believes his dog saved his life. He told her that one evening his dog kept barking while he was in bed. He told his wife he will have to get up and take the dog out for a pee. So he let her out into the garden and she didn’t want to go but kept barking at him. Then he collapsed onto the living room floor, suffering a heart attack. He believes that she had saved his life, as he was told that if he had been in bed when he had the heart attack, he would have probably passed away in his sleep. So it seems that Bruce’s ability to be so sensitive to humans is in his genes.
Bruce is not a Trained Dog. He was assessed to be a Therapy Dog through his natural ability. He has been registered through Peata Dog Therapy for People, since August 2013. He is involved in the Pet Visiting Scheme. Bruce and Charlotte had only had a few visits to the Nursing Home and a few nurses came up to them and said that there was one resident who really liked Bruce and had started asking when Bruce would be back to visit next. They told her that this was a man who never wanted to get involved, was not interested in anything going on and never had much conversation. They told me that after Bruce started to visit they were amazed when he started to converse and seemed a lot happier. It seems Bruce brought him ‘out of his shell’. He is always delighted when Bruce goes to visit and is one of Bruce’s best friends.