Bruno
Photo by Cindy Billesberger/CBC News

Labrador retriever on the mend after spending 27 days stuck in a well

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After spending 27 days stuck in a well, and nearly another month recovering at the veterinary college in Saskatoon, a seven-year-old Labrador retriever named Bruno is on his way home.

According to reports, the dog first went missing in September. Alongside family and friends, owners John and Cindy Billesberger spent weeks searching their property and the roadside ditches around Estevan, Saskatchewan, to no avail.

It wasn’t until October 14, nearly a month after Bruno went missing, that John noticed his other dogs lingering around a patch of tall, thick grass on his neighbour’s property, about half a kilometre from his house. When he pushed aside the grass, he found the abandoned well with Bruno curled up into a ball three metres below.

Photo by Cindy Billesberger/CBC News

John told reporters that he was surprised to find his dog after spending so many hours searching, but he was even more astounded to find him alive.

“He lifted his head. But he couldn’t bark,” he told CBC.

The first thing he did was call his son, who arrived with some ropes. His son then jumped into the well to pull the weak and injured dog out of the mud, and handed him off to John, who immediately put him in the truck and started driving to the vet in Estevan.

Photo by Cindy Billesberger/CBC News

The dog was in rough shape—he’d lost nearly half his usual body weight of 40 kg—and no one was sure if he’d make it. The vet in Estevan initially treated the dog for severe malnutrition, dehydration, and the few injuries he sustained from falling into and getting out of the well, which was only about a metre in diameter. Eventually, Bruno had to be transferred to more specialized, intensive care in Saskatoon.

Although Bruno hasn’t fully recovered—he still needs to follow some physiotherapy routines and is scheduled for regular check-ups regarding his paws—John said he’s got his personality back, and his wife thinks he’ll do even better once he’s home

“I think he’ll thrive more when he’s at the farm, and around his friends, and in the fresh air and with us,” she said. “He’ll be happy.”

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