About a dozen years ago, a man pulled into the driveway of Debbie and Larry LaVallee's home in Longville, Minnesota, holding a squirming little puppy. He told them he had found their lost dog. The pup wasn't theirs, but they couldn't resist the stray, who they believe had been abandoned. They took in the dog and named him Bruno.
But Bruno had other ideas. He didn't want to be tied down — literally — and soon started wandering. Nearly every day, the dog makes the four-mile trek into town and has become a fixture with area residents who have dubbed him the town dog. He stops at city hall and the library, a couple of real estate offices and the ice cream shop, and of course the grocery store where his pals at the deli meet him at the back door with meat scraps they've put aside for him.
“He’s our buddy, we kind of watch out for him the best way we can,” Patrick Moran, who owns a real estate office in Longville, told television station KARE. “Last week he came in, stayed about an hour and a half or two hours."
The LaVallees often get calls from people who are new to town who say, "Hey, I've found your dog." They're dumbfounded when they're told he'll find his way home. The LaVallees say they tried early on to keep him confined, but Bruno always found a way to roam.
People in town know to watch out for him on busy Highway 84. “He’s got to have a guardian angel,” Moran says.
Sometimes people will give the aging dog a ride home at the end of the day if they see him ambling home. After all, at 12, Bruno's gait is a little stiff and it takes him a little longer to make that four-mile walk back after a day of visiting and accumulating treats and pats from his town family.
Although the town ambassador may not be around for much longer, he has already been honored for his work as faithful mascot.
Last year, the town erected a carved wooden statue in Bruno's honor in a park on the city's main street.
He also has his own Facebook page where people share Bruno sightings and photos of themselves with the unforgettable town pooch.