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Paralyzed dog easily rolls with his celeb status

LPuzerewski Beach Park walks her dog Bruno around Bevier Park Waukegan. Bruno an American Staffordshire Terrier was rescued dog with

Lin Puzerewski of Beach Park walks her dog Bruno around Bevier Park in Waukegan. Bruno, an American Staffordshire Terrier, was a rescued dog with paralyzed rear legs and uses a cart for walking. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 31, 2012 1:15AM

BEACH PARK — A disabled dog that uses a cart to get around is stealing hearts the world over.

Nearly 10,000 visited “Bruno’s Story” on Facebook and have seen him on YouTube.

Bruno, an American Staffordshire terrier was found in April abandoned in a Chicago alley, barely able to move, his hind legs paralyzed. He was four weeks old then.

He was brought to the CACC (Chicago Animal Care and Control) where he was named Casey. His mug was placed on Facebook via a shot of him behind bars at the Chicago shelter.

Castaway Pet Rescue in Crystal Lake took the dog and located a foster family that renamed the tiny, big-eared, bug-eyed guy Bruno. Footage of him appeared on YouTube. He was becoming somewhat of a sensation.

Several months later, Lin Puzerewski of Beach Park was asked to care for him temporarily while the foster family was on vacation.

“I had no idea Bruno was a celebrity. I was just willing to help somebody out and I thought it would be temporary,” she said.

As it turns out, Bruno’s sunny disposition and courageous spirit won her over in a heartbeat. Now, Puzerewski is working to legally adopt the dog. She said Bruno also helps fill a void left after her longtime canine companion died recently.

Generous donors have helped Bruno get the means he needs to move. Currently weighing about 50 pounds, Bruno has out-grown a couple of his wheeled carts.

“He just recently got his latest set of wheels,” said Puzerewski. “It was custom made in Minnesota.”

Whatever happened to Bruno’s back legs remains a mystery, but according to Puzerewski, with regular therapy from TOPS Kennel in Grayslake, and with her patience and help, Bruno is learning to walk on his own, a little at a time.

“He can walk sometimes for about 10 minutes until his legs give out,” she said. Doctors remain hopeful of his outcome, but continued therapy is a must, said Puzerewski.

Puzerewski who is herself disabled, said she has plenty of time to spend with Bruno and shares his progress via photos of him she takes and puts on Facebook.

Bruno rolls along with Puzerewski to as many places as she can take him, including parks and the lake.

“I can’t walk him like a regular dog would go for a walk,” but with his custom cart in tow, she said, he gets around pretty well. Recently, they visited Beach Park Fest where he was a star of sorts.

Beach Park Deputy Clerk Donna Perez said she was tickled to hear that a friend from California knew about Bruno long before she did. “There are people who have been following his story for a long time, so he’s pretty famous,” said Perez.

In fact, the cuddly canine has made appearances at grade schools, and an artist has even painted his portrait.

“People send him special deliveries all the time with treats and toys. They come from Germany, Italy and France,” said Puzerewski. “We have two packages sitting here right now from other parts of the country.”

While toys are great, Puzerewski said, “His future therapy depends on donations from the public.”

Though no one knows exactly on which day he was born, Sept. 5 is the day that was chosen as Bruno’s first birthday. Puzerewski said she plans to have a small party for him at her home, and added that his therapist may also have a party.

Donations for Bruno’s therapy and carts can be sent to: Bruno c/o L. Puzerewski, 38285 N. Sheridan Rd., No. 22, Beach Park, IL 60087

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