Charlea Gale’s bumper-sized pooch Bruce has been doing the rounds at Chesterfield’s Brookholme Care Home since he was a puppy.
Gentle giant Bruce can be seen trotting around the care home’s gardens or wandering into the bedrooms of the less mobile in therapeutic visits.
Charlea, 23, an activities coordinator says the docile canine – who weighs eight-and-a-half stone and is over five feet tall on his hind legs – gives patients at the home where she works “a reason” to get up from their chairs.
However, following an announcement from PM Rishi Sunak on Friday that the breed was now banned, current bully XL owners are now required to keep the animals muzzled while in public.
Speaking about the new law, Charlea said: “I think it’s disgusting – quite clearly not all XL bullies are dangerous.
"The problem is with people who get these dogs as status symbols – something needs to be done about it but a ban is a step too far. It’s the owners, not the dogs.
"It’s not fair that Bruce has to wear a muzzle – it will change everything. It’s just not nice for the residents to see him like that.
"They would look at him completely differently and I don’t want him to be looked at that way.”
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Charlea, who is 32 weeks pregnant and says she trusts Bruce “completely” with children, has had the dog since he was 10 weeks old.
She started bringing him to work as the breed attracted increasing notoriety for aggression and attacks on humans and other animals.
“I wanted to change people’s minds and show them they’re not all the same,” said Charlea.
"He is just so gentle and soft with the residents – a lot of them struggle for a reason to move but he just brightens up their day.
"Some of them come outside to meet him, which keeps them active. For the ones that can’t move out of their bedrooms, I take him in to see them and they stroke him.
"It brightens up families too because they don’t get to see the residents interacting a lot – many of them have dementia and don’t remember much.
"But when he comes in they say ‘Brucey’s here’ – so it means a lot if they remember him.”
Commenting on a belief that the XL breed is inherently aggressive and dangerous, Charlea said: “It’s like with any dog, you have to strict.
"A dog has to know its place, especially a powerful breed – but Bruce is just a naturally gentle dog.”