SECURITY guard Rick Beddoes will say goodbye to his top work dog and best friend when rottweiler Bruno is put down today.
Bruno has been Mr Beddoes' guard dog for 10 years at Ballina-based Meridian Protection Group.
But he's also part of the family, with Mr Beddoes' wife and their 21-month-old son all forming strong bonds with the friendly dog.
Thanks to careful training and mutual respect, Bruno has been an important part of their lives.
Last week Bruno was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and, despite appointments with leading veterinarians, nothing can be done to save him.
"I thought he had a paralysis tick last Friday after his back legs collapsed on him so I rushed him immediately to the vet in Lismore where they believed he had torn his ACL in his right knee," Mr Beddoes said.
"We went to Queensland's top veterinary hospital where specialists did a number of tests, including blood, urine, x-rays, ultrasounds and (an) internal camera.
"Blood tests showed his red blood cell count was low, as was his kidney function.
"We found out he had cancer in his bladder, liver, kidney and lungs."
It was an emotional diagnosis for Mr Beddoes.
Bruno always went with him on his nightly security run through Ballina, Lennox Head and Alstonville as his fierce protector and guard.
But while Bruno knew he had a job to do, he was gentle and loving, Mr Beddoes said.
"People think that dogs in this industry have to be vicious and angry, that he's a monster," he said.
"But if I can't have a little kid pull his whiskers as we're walking through the shopping centre, then I have a liability, not an asset.
"He has a beautiful nature and temperament."
At a fundraising concert in 2012, Bruno showed off his guard dog attributes during a bite suit demonstration, but moments later had children crawling all over him, cuddling him and pulling his tail.
"People couldn't believe that a protection dog could be so fierce and protective, yet so well natured, too," Mr Beddoes said.
"The hardest part is I'm losing my work mate and my best friend."
Mr Beddoes said Bruno was a popular dog and he had received more than 300 text messages of support as word spread about Bruno's condition.
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