Philly punk Justin Dehel’s Indiegogo campaign aims to keep dog Bruce in Good Graces

Good Graces guitarist Justin Dehel relaxes with his injured pup, Bruce. (Photo via Indiegogo)

On one hand, punk rock is the epitome of all things nihilistic, giving us for however brief an interval the chance to revel in youthful, violent apathy fueled by noisy guitars. On the other hand, though, it’s also a ferociously DIY culture that has historically vetted and supported its own. If Justin Dehel of Port Richmond punk outfit Good Graces is lucky, that much is still true today. 

Well, it’s not so much Dehel himself that could benefit as it is his 18-month-old pitbull Bruce. Named after The Boss himself, Bruce suffered ACL and meniscus tears in both his legs earlier this year that vets say could cost upwards of $10,000 total between surgery, medication, and rehab. As a result, Dehel has since taken to Indiegogo to raise money for his injured pet’s treatment. 

“People have been very generous,” Dehel says. “The response has been very humbling.” 

At the time of writing, Dehel’s “Born to Run” fundraiser has collected upwards of $5,000 to go towards Bruce’s treatments—about halfway to the total with just over a month to go. Initially posted March 3, Dehel’s fundraiser for Bruce has collected an average of $350 a day. And not just because it has an awesome Springsteen-themed t-shirt to go along with your donation.

“That’s the power of the internet and social networking—people respond,” Dehel says. “Hopefully in the next 30 days we can spread the word and Bruce can get his treatment.” 

Spreading, in fact, is exactly what word about Bruce has been doing. Since posting the campaign, Dehel has seen everyone from friend and pro skateboarder Chris Cole to Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell promote his cause. Dehel calls the ensuing attention “heartwarming” and his glad to see his pooch’s story has struck a chord somewhere. 

“People love an underdog, I guess,” Dehel says. “And Bruce is pretty banged up, but he’s still pretty adorable so I have that going for me.” 

How far that adorable appearance can go, though, we’ll find out when the fundraiser concludes on April 17. In the meantime, Good Graces’ next show is this coming Monday at Kung Fu Necktie, so be sure to come out and support the scene. Or, rather, an ailing pup the scene—along with Dehel himself—loves.

“Bruce is my world, so it’s great to see people responding to a guy and his dog,” Dehel says. “He’s pretty much like my child.”