By Janet Tappin Coelho
An abandoned pitbull on the verge of being put down won a second chance of life after vets were persuaded to take one last look at the reason for the dog’s bad behaviour.
To everyone’s horror x-rays showed two-year-old Bono was suffering unimaginable agony as up to 18 pieces of bullet shrapnel were found lodged
in his skull.
Vets extracted five of the splinters in delicate surgery, but the rest remain and may pose a long-term threat to the dog’s well-being.
The story of Bono’s plight came to light on Monday in a Facebook video which has amassed over 50,000 hits.
Luciana Sperduti, 46, from Araraquara, south east Brazil, whose intervention saved the canine’s life said: “When I first saw Bono, I thought his
injuries had been caused by a horse or cow kicking him in the head. I never imagined it was because he had been shot.
“We were shocked to discover that someone had been so unbelievably cruel to this animal.”
The distressing condition meant Bono was being driven crazy with unrelenting and intense stabbing pains that caused him to howl constantly as
if he was crying.
The animal’s head was distorted and swollen from his injuries which were constantly bleeding.
There was a diagonal scar that slashed across the top of his head, an open wound oozed pus just above his right eye and sores in his skin were
infected. The damage impaired the dog’s hearing, his eyes and sinuses, leaving the poor brute in excruciating misery.
He was just days away from being put to sleep when Ms Sperduti stepped in, vowing to give the fragile creature a fighting chance to live.
She raised funds by selling raffle tickets and using her own savings to pay for vets to surgically remove some of the ballistics. And she decided to
adopt the beleaguered animal, building a special kennel for him at her home.
Today, the devoted dog owner has changed Bono’s aggressive behaviour by training him to become more docile and approachable.
Bono was found in an atrocious state wandering along a motorway in July 2015 by firefighters after locals reported a dangerous dog on the
The captured animal was so emaciated his rib cage were sticking out. He was anaemic, infested with ticks and weak from starvation.
The malnourished hound was taken to an animal welfare shelter which was where Ms Sperduti first found him chained up inside a reinforced iron
cage, snarling, baring his teeth and barking viciously at anyone who dared to approach.
The 46-year-old art teacher remembered the moment she saw the stray.
She said: “Bono was suspicious and frightened of humans as much as we were frightened of him.
“He growled menacingly as I approached the cage and looked me straight in the eyes. At that moment, I felt so much love and compassion I
knew instantly this was an animal just pining for someone to show him the kindness and attention he needed so he could become a loving pet.”
The married dog-lover, who owns 12 other pooches, said: “Ten days after he arrived at the shelter, a vet managed to sedate Bono and get him
onto an operating table. That was when we discovered the remnants of bullets embedded in his skull.
“We believe someone had deliberately tried to shoot and kill him, as there were splinters scattered in the rest of his body too.”
The complex surgery removed five out of the 18 fragments in his head. But extracting all of them was considered too dangerous for Bono’s
He was treated with antibiotics to heal his wounds and two years later, as Ms Sperduti celebrates her second year of caring for the Pitbull the
animal has gained weight, is considerably healthier and is a boisterous four-year-old.
She explained: “It took me a year and a half to finally bring Bono home as I didn’t have the space to put him.
“He was held in private kennels until December 2016 and came home in January 2017 once I had built the exclusive structure for him.
“It took me several weeks before he would trust me to even pat him. He wouldn’t let anyone get close, particularly men, because he was too
scared of the abuse humans had dealt him,” she said adding Bono was named after the biscuits which he adores and her favourite singer.
Ms Sperduti continued: “To earn Bono’s trust I practiced on some of the teachings from the renowned pit bull trainer, Mexican American Cesar
Millan. This initially involved making minimal eye contact, being quiet and peaceful but strong and talking in a low calm voice.
“Bono’s behaviour has improved a lot and he is a very playful and affectionate dog. But his problems are still not over as he remains aggressive
towards other animals and doesn’t interact with them.
“Surprisingly, he allows my husband, Paulo, to pet him, probably because he sees us together and is familiar with our smells.
“But he won’t let me to put a muzzle and lead on him so we can’t take him for walks in the street. Something I would love to do one day.
“In the meantime, we are just grateful to see how our efforts have given Bono a new lease of life,” she said.