Brent Rodgers was driving home from work in Southlake one day in February 2005 and decided to take an alternate route to avoid particularly bad traffic.
Turns out the Dallas Animal Services shelter was on the way. He stopped.
When he entered, he saw the “last chance” dogs.
“It was kind of a row of them on death row, and they were all barking and loud,” Rodgers says.
Teddy was sitting at the bottom of the cage. He was a blond pooch, about 20 pounds, between 1 and 3 years old.
“I was like, ‘Oh, well, I can’t let it go. I’m just going to take him home today because I don’t want a dog,” Rodger says.
He had no intention of making Teddy a permanent member of the household. But of course Rodgers kept it.
In 2009 they moved to Los Angeles. Teddy’s daycare took part in some sort of animal casting program, and Teddy was selected to be in the film. Saltstarring Angeline Jolie – although Rodgers claims he didn’t find out which movie his dog was in until about nine months after the scene was filmed.
Five years ago Rodgers moved from Uptown to Old Lake Highlands, and since then the neighborhood has come to know and love Teddy.
At the end of June, Rodgers – the owner of Roots Market and Juicery – took Teddy to the vet. Everything was fine.
But the next day, Teddy couldn’t move. He died that day. A brain tumor that no one knew about had spread to his spine.
“Because he was so special to me and everyone knew him as part of my life, I thought about what I wanted to do, because I didn’t want it to go unnoticed how great he was. special to me,” Rodgers said.
He chose to throw a block party in Teddy’s honor, charging admission to raise money for Dallas Animal Services, and spread the word on Facebook and Nextdoor.
Mi Cocina’s food truck served food and drinks, Mambo Taxis included, and Mr. Sugar Rush had ice cream and snow cones. Rodgers also rented two inflatable water slides – for kids and adults. Live music was provided by the Peninsula Pickers, an East Dallas-based band.
Rodgers was asking for a $25 donation to come to the block party, which was held in early September. But many people were more generous. Rodgers had signs with QR codes linked to a donation website scattered around, so people gave $50, $100, even $500. In total, about 300 people came and at least $12,000 was raised.
He is already planning to organize a similar event next year, involving the neighborhood even more.
“We just had the best time,” he says.