Owned by no one but beloved by all,
Brownie was a good dog.
Brownie, a large, brown, short-haired stray dog, lived on Beach Street for 15 years, and became known far beyond his seaside home as the Town Dog of Daytona Beach.
Brownie entered the world sometime around 1939, and entered the front door of the Daytona Cab Company soon after. Owner Ed Budgen and his drivers took a shine to the friendly dog, and built him a dog house out front. Brownie quickly became known up and down Beach Street and along the riverfront, belonging to no one, but to everyone.
Locals, Beach Street merchants and tourists all donated funds to keep Brownie well fed and well cared for, and Ed at the cab company even established a Florida Bank and Trust account in his name to make sure there was always enough to buy dog food and pay any vet bills.
Brownie’s sweet disposition and diplomatic demeanor made him a must-see for shoppers and tourists, who all stopped to greet him, take a picture with him, or just sit with him while waiting for a bus or cab. Each year, the townspeople bought Brownie a dog license, his tag always #1 signifying that he was the official goodwill ambassador for the town.
As his popularity grew, Brownie was written about not only in the local Daytona Beach press, but in national magazines and newspapers, and every year he received Christmas cards and presents from all over the United States.
He died on Halloween in 1954 at the age of 15. The entire city mourned the good dog’s passing, and 75 people attended his funeral in Riverfront Park. Mayor Jack Tamm gave the eulogy.
Brownie died with $300 in his bank account (approximately $3000 in today’s dollars). The money was used to pay for his final vet bills, funeral, casket and grave marker.