An Anaheim police dog that was shot Thursday while chasing probation suspects was able to eat under his own power for the first time Sunday in what police officials are calling "an important step to his recovery."
The German shepherd known as Bruno also received blood from his K-9 colleagues Ares and Guenther, officials said in a statement on the Anaheim police blog Behind the Badge. Officer Brett Klevos said doctors have removed Bruno's catheter, and that the dog took a short walk on a grassy area of Yorba Regional Animal Hospital.
"It was exhausting for K9 Bruno, but a great sign," Klevos wrote in an email to colleagues.
The swelling has gone slightly down in the dog's jaw, and veterinarians made a special paste out of his prescription food that he was able to consume with his back teeth, Klevos added.
Authorities have said Bruno is expected to survive after being shot in the face by a suspect he was chasing in Anaheim.
The chain of events began Thursday at 1:45 p.m. as two Orange County probation officers went to a home in the 1100 block of Mayfair Avenue.
The probationer they were looking for was with two men who fled as authorities approached. One of the men shot at officers multiple times, Anaheim police said.
During the ensuing search, Bruno found one of the men hiding near a trash can, who then fired on officers and Bruno, striking the dog in the face, according to Anaheim police Lt. Tim Schmidt.
Officers returned fire, killing the suspect, later identified as Robert Moreno Jr., 22.
Bruno is unlikely to return to work, according to a message posted on Facebook by the Friends of the Anaheim Police K9 Assn. It's anticipated that police Officer R.J. Young will purchase Bruno from the city and acquire his future medical costs, the association added.
A fund has been established to help pay medical costs as an outpouring of public support hit social media.
Dozens of dogs and their owners participated in a "pack walk" on Saturday around the corner from the pet hospital, NBC Los Angeles reported. The German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County organized the event to show "strength in numbers" for Bruno.
"Those of us at the police department are touched by the unbelievable outpouring of support from the community and across the nation and world," Schmidt said on the police blog. "Bruno did his job this week, locating a dangerous suspect and very likely saving officers' lives. And since then, he has shown a remarkable will to live."