Every dog is worthy of being memorialized through a bronze statue, but how many dogs do you know are actually memorialized in bronze? This is the continuing tale of Daytona Beach’s legendary Brownie the Town Dog.
The summer of 2017, I visited Daytona Beach and shared what I learned about Brownie the Town Dog after meeting Mr. Eddie James and Mr. Alvin Almodovar, owners of Brownie’s Dog Boutique. Located in the Riverfront Shops of Daytona, the shop was inspired by the community’s beloved hound of the 1940s and early 1950s.
I returned in January 2019. The shop had closed in 2018 but across the way and along the Sweetheart Trail in Riverfront Park is the life-sized statue honoring Brownie the Town Dog. It was dedicated June 12, 2018 and inspires the pup’s positive spirit.
1940 Was the Beginning of the Good Dog’s Tale
Brownie’s story began in 1940 when on a sunny day, the sandy-brown colored dog wandered into the Daytona Cab Company. Brownie was always referred as “a good dog” and the cab drivers and merchants took care of Brownie for his 14 years. Tourists and locals donated to Brownie’s bank account which paid for his funeral and tombstone. Every year, the Daytona citizens voted to pay for Brownie’s dog license, which was always No. 1.
Daytona Beach News-Journal outdoors writer Mr. Fred Langworthy penned a column on Feb. 13, 1949, where he wrote of Brownie as one who “numbers his friends among the thousands while his enemies are none.”
He continued with describing Daytona Beach’s beloved dog as “fat as butter and quite healthy due to the care taken of him by his many friends – taximen, bartenders, waitresses, police and scores of others,” and added, “As long as he lives Brownie will never want for food, water, shelter and kindness. And after he’s gone he will be missed on Beach St. and Orange Ave.”
The writer also noted, “A busy community which takes time out to give a beloved pet a pat and a kind word is a good community. It’s a healthy sign, and a wholesome one.”
Remembering Brownie the Town Dog
Even today, many people recall their time with Brownie and some remember him as a magical or healing dog. Some shared their memories of the pup with the former dog boutique owners.
“‘When I was a little girl, if I didn’t feel well, I’d sit with Brownie,'” Mr. Almodovar recalled a customer sharing her memories of Brownie with him.
A Good Dog is a Reminder of a Wholesome Time
But, the story of Brownie isn’t about a street dog.
“It’s about remembering a time that was different. People tell stories about their family and how Brownie fit in,” Mr. Almodovar said, “It was a simple time and wholesome and very significant for the town. It wasn’t a dog, it was a symbol of a time.”
Brownie passed away in 1954. A Nov. 2, 1954, newspaper article in the Daytona Beach Morning Journal shows photos of Daytona Cab Company taxi drivers serving as his pallbearers. They carried a casket with the dog’s body to his final resting place and even the mayor gave the eulogy. Although it was against the law to bury anything in Riverside Park, local government officials made an exception. The community adored this dog so much and wanted to memorialize their beloved pup.
Decades later, a statue immortalizes a good dog. By nature, dogs love their humans unconditionally. Brownie’s story reminds us to practice kindness and find the good around us.
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Nuts & Bolts About Visiting Brownie the Town Dog Memorial & Grave in Daytona Beach
Brownie the Town Dog Memorial & Grave
Riverfront Park along the Halifax River
62-94 Orange Ave.
Daytona Beach, Fla. 32114
Where to Stay
Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort
100 North Atlantic Ave.
Daytona Beach, Fla. 32118
Phone: (386) 254-8200
Daytona Beach and the surrounding area offer several pet-friendly accommodations fitting all budgets. The Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau offers a list of pet-friendly accommodations online: daytonabeach.com/hotels/pet-friendly
Sweet Marlay’s Coffee
214 S Beach St.
Daytona Beach, Fla. 32114
Tel: (386) 256-5323
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to support this blog, my traveling habit, and my special-needs dog.