Take big, take handsome, take
brave, …..Mix sweet, and loving, and fun and kind… Colour him soft and gentle and
caring and wise…
All of these attributes and more
went into the wonderful canine cocktail that was Patricia Vazquez’s beloved
Bruno was a well known figure
amongst the animal world of New Providence, 215 pounds of rippling golden
muscle, topped off with a large blunt head and a dashing black muzzle…invariably
his comical tongue would be lolling out of the side of his enormous mouth as he
smiled in a quizzical manner at all those who looked at him in complete awe….
Bruno was just so BIG…. And, like
so many big people, he was the gentlest of giants, the sweetest of people and
the kindest of dogs. Always accommodating to a small child who tentatively put
out their hand timidly towards this enormous, horse like canine, his big tongue
would lick the small hand as delicately as if the child were holding a
I was privileged to watch Bruno in
action when his owner and best friend Patricia Vazquez, very graciously, would
allow Tambearly School’s “Bahamas Humane Society Club” to visit her lovely farm
in Western New Providence, called, “Finca Nati”.
We would arrive in a cavalcade of
vehicles, with various giggling young people in the cars, hanging out the
windows in anticipation of the exciting field trip. As we would wind our way up
the densely planted trail, the kids eyes would get a little bigger and the
excitement a litter stronger; the cars would reach the parking lot and there
invariably, in the middle of the parking area, the host “extraordinaire”, would
be “BRUNO”… some of the children could not believe their eyes…No DOG could
possibly be THAT big!
Bruno with his friend Kona
It always made me secretly giggle,
because I think I went up in their estimation, as I would hop out of the car
and give Bruno a quick and casual hug without being trampled. It would take the
kids a few minutes to warm up to this huge and imposing figure, but even the
most shy and timid were won over by his charming personality in a few short
minutes as he lead the kids around the gardens to visit the horses, ducks,
chickens, donkey, ponies and to, of course, meet the other dogs in residence.
In the Bahamas we are often faced
with children who are fearful of dogs. This is a condition that has been
promoted and encouraged by less than wise parenting. The
“watch that dog, he gonna bite ya”,
attitude followed by “if that dog comes near, I gonna kik it” has not always
bred a close and connecting relationship between kid and canine. Every now and
then there would be a very fearful little one who would spy Bruno and
immediately take cover behind me. Not that I was any match for Bruno had Bruno
wished to move me. But strangely enough, little by little, Bruno would be able
to coax that fearful child and before long the child would have laid a trusting
hand on Bruno’s back as they walked around the farm.
I vividly remember one day,
stopping on the side of the road at Lyford Cay, to say hello to Patricia and
Bruno, who were on the golf cart on their way to the beach…. A lady pulled up
in her car, leaned over and called out to me “Is he real?”…She simply could not
believe his size… I assured he that he was very real indeed!
Magic is as magic does in
Millions of humans are born,
Millions of puppies are born. What wayward star chose to match Patricia up with
this innocent little Mastiff pup born in Canada on January 11th 2007
?…Some seed or spark must have flown through the layers of coincidence,
opportunity and luck for these two very special personalities to meet and bond
and become as close as animal and human could.
Patricia Vazquez and Bruno: Best Friends.
Patricia’s love and respect for
animals embodied Bruno’s very existence. The more love that she and her family
showered on him, the more he gave back to them, and to the community he lived
in. People would stop and stare and take pictures of him…graciously he would
stand patiently, his enormous tail wagging from side to side as people
exclaimed over him in bubbling excitement…it was all in a days work for Bruno.
As long as he knew that the day would end at the end of his beloved mistress’s
bed, and he could sigh a contented sigh knowing that she and the people she
held dear were safe, Bruno was a contented dog. His day started and ended with
Patricia, they would swim in the ocean, walk on the beach, go for golf cart
rides, share stories and secrets…and sometimes just sit and enjoy that magic
connection that only human and canine can share, at the end of a long day, when
words are simply unnecessary.
One of his most amazing attributes
was, I guess, the fact, that he was really always content, always happy.
He never had bad days, all of Bruno’s
days were good days, made better by love, getting scratched, cuddled and cared
for. His happiness was the mirror of the care and love he received at his
It is perhaps difficult to understand
why, after such a short time; Bruno got called back to his maker.
At three and a half years old, on August
30th, 2010 Bruno passed away from a massive and unexpected heart
attack…. He has left a void in the lives of everybody who met or knew him…. His
passing was a shock wave throughout the animal community…It is difficult to
believe that we will no longer see him sitting up on the golf cart, proud of
his position beside Patricia, posing for just one more photo, leaning forward
to give one more lick.
The world moves in mysterious ways
indeed. For sure Bruno was sent here to teach us all the qualities of
gentleness, and kindness, sent to teach us that the big and strong can afford
to be gentle and meek too, and can continue to gain the respect and admiration
of those who lives they touch.
Why was he not left with Patricia
longer to continue to spread his message and give unconditional love, we will
never know…..We just have to satisfy ourselves that there was a reason. He fulfilled
his earthly mission. He has crossed over to rainbow bridge where he is most
certainly the biggest and most imposing of all dogs, happy reunited with his
old friend Tosa.
A reflective pose in the sea...
Somewhere in the universe there is a speck, the beginnings of
a tiny puppy, waiting to be sent on a similar mission, perhaps, not as big, or
impressive or imposing, but a ray of hope….A symbol of love, that will wedge
itself within Patricia’s heart and help her to always remember her very special
gentle giant that she so generously shared with us all.
May sweet Bruno rest in peace…
About the author:Kim Aranha grew up in the
Berry Islands with her first dog, a beloved potcake named “Friendly” (who was
anything but!). First educated at home, and then in boarding school in
Switzerland, Kim moved to Rome, Italy in 1974 to pursue a career in the
dramatic arts and ended up working as an interpreter. She moved back to The
Bahamas in 1980, and now lives in Nassau with her husband Paul, and their two
grown sons. Kim has 4 dogs, 2 goldfish,
11 fresh water turtles, 1 Asian box turtle and 3 Budgerigars.
Her idea of relaxing is being home to take care of all her pets. Kim is
President of the Bahamas Humane Society, and serves on the board of BREEF, and
is co-chairman of the Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group. Kim can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org