Buddy’s view from the bench. Photo by Lori Benson
BY HEATHER DUBIN | Recently on a street in Tribeca, a Cockapoo, a cocker spaniel and poodle mix, suddenly appeared, unleashed, and seemingly unattended.
But his owner, Lori Benson, was nearby, and watching Buddy from behind her apartment building’s front door.
“This is how a lazy person walks their dog,” she joked.
After a quick introduction, Benson invited this reporter inside her warm and cozy apartment to learn more about Buddy. On the stairwell, Benson admitted to being embarrassed that she was caught in the act of “walking” the dog — though, really, only the dog had been doing any walking.
This responsibility was supposed to belong to Talula, her 12-year-old daughter, as part of the negotiations agreed upon to get Buddy, who is now five years old.
“That didn’t happen,” Benson said of the dog-walking deal.
Buddy has a dog walker during the day, and when Benson, a former documentary filmmaker who is pursuing a master’s degree in social work for family therapy, is home, she tends to rely on her method to let Buddy out to do his thing.
Buddy’s addition to the family was Talula’s doing. She decided she wanted a dog, and created an effective campaign to win her mother over.
“She made a book, and every time she saw a dog that she liked, she put it in the book,” Benson said.
Talula was thorough — she researched breeds, found photos, and wrote a summary of positive attributes for each.
Benson started looking for a small dog to make Talula’s dream come true for her seventh birthday, until her own mother tracked down some Cockapoo puppies on Long Island. The three of them then headed out on the train to see the four that were still available.
When they arrived, the runt of the litter, which Talula described as having sad eyes, was all that was left.
“I didn’t know you take a dog that day. I didn’t know how it works,” Benson said. And then she was off to the bank to withdraw $750.
Benson shared a video of Talula on the train returning home with Buddy.
“I love her little voice, it’s so different now,” the proud mother said of her daughter.
Luckily for the Bensons, their neighbors upstairs also have an affinity for Buddy. The recently married couple take Buddy for walks, buy him toys and, essentially, borrow him as their own.
“We say we live in a duplex,” Benson explained. “Buddy comes and goes between the floors, and spends half of his time between the two apartments.”
This modern arrangement involves key exchanges and swapped photos of the Cockapoo.
“They love Buddy as much as we do,” she said.
People are more appealing to Buddy than other dogs. When he sees a particular dog in the neighborhood, they bark at each other from two blocks away.
And at the dog run on North Moore St., Buddy is ready to bolt the minute another dog enters the park.
Perhaps he prefers his “indoor playground,” playing catch in the stairwell at home.
“He owns the joint,” Benson said.