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.
It just so happened that the Dallas Animal Services shelter was along the way. He stopped in.
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 in the back of the cage. He was a blond mutt, about 20 pounds, between 1 and 3 years old.
“I was like, ‘Oh, well I can’t let him go down. I’m just going to take him home today because I don’t want a dog,'” Rodger says.
He had no intention to make Teddy a permanent member of the house. But of course, Rodgers kept him.
In 2009, they moved to Los Angeles. Teddy’s daycare participated in some sort of animal-casting program, and Teddy was selected to be in the film Salt, starring Angeline Jolie — although Rodgers says he didn’t find out which film his dog was in until nine months or so after the scene was shot.
Five years ago, Rodgers moved from Uptown to Old Lake Highlands, and since then, the neighborhood came to know and love Teddy.
In late 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 no one knew about had spread into his spine.
“Because he was so special to me and everyone knew him as a part of my life, I contemplated kind of what I wanted to do, because I didn’t want it to go unnoticed how special he was to me,” Rodgers says.
He chose to host a block party in Teddy’s honor, charging admission to raise funds for Dallas Animal Services, and put the word out on Facebook and Nextdoor.
Mi Cocina’s food truck was serving 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, 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 all, about 300 people came, and at least $12,000 was raised.
He already has thoughts about doing a similar event next year, getting even more neighborhood involvement.
“We just had the best time,” he says.