Sgt. Bruno on Zeus: ‘Suddenly the tables turned & I became the protector’


Now that I have finally had the chance to catch my breath, I would like to extend my most sincere appreciation and gratitude for the outpouring of support that my family and I have received during this very difficult time. May 4, 2024, started out to be a beautiful Saturday morning, but sadly was the second most challenging day of my life, with the first being the passing of Bosco. In a matter of a 10 minute visit to the vet, my world was turned upside down.

We discovered Zeus had developed a tumor in his pancreas, which had ruptured, and he was starting to bleed internally. Over the last 9 years, Zeus had been my loyal, fierce protector and suddenly the tables turned, and I became the protector.

I had no choice but to shield Zeus as he had done for me, without question or hesitation, throughout his entire career. I needed to make his pain stop and in so doing, I knew the pain that my family and I would endure.

After hearing the prognosis that Saturday morning, I immediately took Zeus home to allow my family the time to say their goodbyes. As we laid down with Zeus in the sun in my backyard for the last few hours of Zeus’s life, all I could recall is how fortunate I was to have had a dog like Zeus. As many of you know Zeus was extremely intense and driven while at work. What many of you did not see was the affectionate Zeus. Zeus had two very distinct sides, which allowed him the ability (to) go for a walk, play with a ball and simply be a dog.

Over the years, he learned how to balance his work life and home life. During that time, I had to replace many screen doors that got in his way, especially when he saw an animal in my backyard. I also had to replace many sprinkler heads that Zeus felt were attacking him when going off. However, when it was time to work, he flipped the switch and the simple sound of me getting my work keys had him running for the front door waiting to jump into his cruiser.

In 2008, I was lucky enough to begin my canine career with Bosco and continue it in 2015 when I began training with Zeus. The life of a K9 handler is by no means easy. It is filled with blood, sweat, tears and endless hours of training. There are many highs and lows, but the end result was truly worth all the grief these dogs often put us through. The amount of work I have done with Zeus seemed to have never ended, whether it be a search, a demonstration, or school visits, Zeus performed each one proudly.

I have been fortunate to have met literally thousands of people who have always been amazed at the ability of a police K9. Since Bosco, I have had the opportunity to come with my K9 partners to a job I love. My K9 partners continually humbled me with their abilities, day in and day out. Suddenly after 16 years, I find myself walking out the door alone, which is an adjustment to say the least. Animal lovers know the bond that is created between a pet and their owner; a K9 bond is intensified due to the fact we spend 24 hours a day 7 days a week with our partners, wherein more time is spent with our dogs than with our families.

When we do have an opportunity to spend time with our families, guess who is in the middle of all the action, our beloved dogs. I have had a dog by my side for 16 years. When I leave the house I am now feeling as if I forgot something and in some way there is a huge piece of me that I am no longer leaving with. The physical emptiness and emotional void that I now feel, is ever present; however. Zeus will always be with me and dwell within my heart. It has been an honor and the highlight of my 28-year career to be a K9 officer for the last 16 years.

Over this last week I can’t begin to explain and appreciate the support my family and I have received form countless calls, texts, cards, emails and even gifts that have been created to memorialize Zeus. Although there were times I wanted to shut the world out, I never quit or gave up because Zeus never gave up on me. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to each and every person that has reached out over this past week. I have no words to truly express the gratitude I feel. Lastly, I would like to sincerely thank the following:

  • Mayor Kenneth Hopkins and his administrative team. Thank you for y our leadership, as it starts from the top and you certainly have exemplified that with your Administration.
  • Colonel Winquist and his administration. Thank you for affording me the opportunity to build a three-dog patrol canine unit that led the way throughout the state. Without your vision and leadership, we would have never grown the Cranston Police canine unit into what it is today.
  • My family and friends have always supported me through both the good times and bad. The life of a K9 officer is not always easy and comes with many sacrifices, to include countless hours of training, call backs, and time away from my family; all of which were essential in order to grow and develop an effective K-9 unit. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
  • To all the Cranston residents who lined the streets the day of the service, my supportive community and my dear neighbors, who have experienced the loss of two dogs along with me. Thank you for y our support.
  • The Cranston Fire Department for the impressive display of respect they showed Zeus during his final ride as well as the countless firefighters that reached out to me with condolences and offered comfort.
  • All the vendors we perform construction details with who also had the opportunity to spend many hours with Zeus. Thank you for allowing him to chew the traffic cones that would occasionally attack him.
  • Current and retired members of the Cranston Police Department and civilian staff.
  • Cranston City employees who lined the route for Zeus’ last ride.
  • RI Police Work Dog Association and its members whom I have trained with since 2008.
  • Connecticut Police Work Dog Association
  • Greenwich Valley veterinary services who provided care for both Bosco and Zeus and were always professional, caring and dedicated to our K9 dogs. Thank you for your empathy and the compassion you not only showed me, but most importantly, showed Zeus.
  • Final Gift Crematorium for the overall professionalism and comfort they provided during this difficult time.
  • My fellow K9 officers: K9 Officers O’Donnell and Bagshaw who have been extremely supportive throughout our time together as part of the K9 unit. Sgt. Pete Leclerc and Inspector Aldrich who organized the services for Zeus. The level of dignity shown to Zeus was unparalleled and from the depths of my heart, I thank you.
  • Ptlm. Randy Babcock who was there from the start and assisted in the selection and training of all our K9s. Thank you for your unwavering support, knowledge and dedication to the CPD K9 unit.
  • The RI Motor Officers who provided the most distinguished send off anyone could ask for.
  • CPD dispatchers, I appreciate all the love you showed him during the tenure of his life at CPD, especially Sky Marcos who had the difficult task of Zeus’s final radio call.

Lastly my partner Zeus, you took a huge piece of me with you, but that’s ok, because all of you will forever dwell within me. Thank you for your tenacity, craziness, love and friendship over the last 9 years. You made me, the person at the other end of the leash, a star. I will be forever indebted to you for all that you gave me, taught me and shared with me. You were my protector and made sure I returned home at the end of every shift. I will cherish every memory we made together. You did everything at 110%, it is time to rest Zeus, you have earned it.


 Cranston Police Sgt. Gregg M. Bruno

Last week's story: Cranston Police K-9 Zeus crosses the rainbow bridge

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