Brownie: Daytona Beach's Town Dog

Brownie became famous around the US as the Town Dog of Daytona Beach during the mid 1900s.

In 1939, a tan puppy of plain looks and a very kind heart was born. He had no home but by the following year he became the dog who belonged to the town of Daytona Beach on Florida's Atlantic coast. The first to welcome him was Ed Budgen, the owner of the Daytona Cab Company. The owner and his drivers took an instant liking to the pup, which they named Brownie, and soon built him a dog house that sat outside their building.

It didn't take long for Brownie to become a favorite among the townspeople. He would play with the children during the day and often accompany the police officers on their patrols at night. He would have his picture taken with tourists, sit with people waiting for a cab or bus, and help lift spirits of those who were feeling sad. According to an interview by the Daytona Beach News-Journal in 2016, Fayn LeVeille (one of the children who played with Brownie) described Brownie as "a very special animal, one that you might only meet once in a lifetime and that when he looked into your eyes it was as if he could see right through to your soul."

One day Brownie was hit by a car that broke his hip. Many chipped in to pay his vet bill and the town's dog made a full recovery. To help pay for his food, vet bills and dog license, a coin jar was placed next to his dog house where locals and tourists could donate money. So much money was received that Budgen opened an account for Brownie at the Florida Bank & Trust (now the Halifax Historical Museum).

Brownie's popularity became known around the country. His story appeared in national newspapers and magazines, and every year he would receive Christmas cards and gifts from fans all over the US. Brownie lived a long and happy life. He died of old age on Halloween in 1954, and the community was heartbroken. He was given a funeral which many people attended, including the town's Mayor who delivered the eulogy. "Brownie was indeed a good dog," said Mayor Jack Tamm. He was buried in Riverfront Park under a granite slab that reads "The Town Dog, A Good Dog".