Military Working Dog Bruno rocks medically prescribed goggles

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Collette Brooks
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

His chestnut brown eyes resemble the sweetness and color of chocolate chips. His thick fur coat is saturated in highlights of black, gold and amber. He sports a smile that stretches from ear-to-ear which matches the uniqueness of his multi-colored tail.

He might be a man of a few words but when he does speak, hints of beef jerky coat every spoken sound.

With his boyish ways, zest for fun and “hater shades” on, Military Working Dog Bruno ensures he is fit to fight in style.

In 2019, MWD Bruno was diagnosed with pannus, an immune system condition that occurs as a result of ultraviolet light damage to the side of the cornea. MWD Bruno takes various ophthalmic and oral medications, in addition to wearing specialized canine goggles, which has a UV lens that protects Bruno's eyes from the UV light that can worsen his condition.

MWD Bruno’s transition to wearing goggles full time began with him wearing just the frame to become accustomed to the feel. Then he ate with the goggles on to gauge his comfortability level. Finally, meeting the ultimate goal, he began conducting detection training with his goggles.

“Once he got used to just the frame, I added in the clear lenses,” said Senior Airman Juan Lopez, 49th Security Forces Squadron MWD handler. “He seemed comfortable with those on, so I immediately put on the darker lenses and just repeated the same process I did when he had just the frames on. I then ordered some different colored lenses, because I figured since he has to wear goggles anyway, why not give him something different than just the basic dark ones.”

Although MWD Bruno must sport a set of protective eyewear, it does not deter his ability to search vehicles, conduct walking patrols and provide security for the last two years with his partner, Lopez.

“At a moment’s notice Bruno and Lopez can be tasked to support the president of the United States, the vice president, their spouses, the U.S. Secretary of State and many other important people,” said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Franco, 49th Security Forces Squadron MWD kennel master. “The use of these canine goggles and lenses is not a simple task. The MWD must be patiently trained to tolerate and work with the goggles in place, which takes many weeks by the handler and the kennel team.”

With Lopez and members from the 49th SFS backing Bruno on all of his training success, Bruno continues to carry on despite his everlasting medical condition.

“Bruno still has pannus, but it’s at a clinically stable place with no inflammation or abnormalities present, which is the ideal scenario and end result in dogs being treated for this condition as it will never fully go away,” said Franco. “He is now comfortable working and doing his job with his goggles in place anytime he is outdoors, thanks to the hard work and detection of his handler, Lopez, and trainer Staff Sgt. Dennis Kim.”

Not only is MWD Bruno admired for his hardworking disposition, but he is also recognized for his gentle and caring demeanor.

“He is such a sweet dog and he is always so happy,” said Franco. “Then you throw his goggles in the mix and he just looks so cute.”

With his endearing personality and even cuter appearance, Franco detailed what she hopes for MWD Bruno’s future.

“I hope to see Bruno continue to advance in his training,” said Franco. “Perhaps a few more deployments and POTUS missions. After that, I hope to see him retire and live the couch life with someone who is going to spoil him rotten and get him all the puppuccinos he deserves.”