A most adorable pair of adopted dogs

Alyssa Leon and Tommy Rigdon sitting on a ledge with Brew and Julien their adopted dogs
Brew and Julien play together, nap together, and are helping their adopters make friends in their new city.
By Nicole Hamilton

Brew loves heading to the beach for a swim and to catch some rays. He’s always up for a car ride and is perfectly content relaxing at a pet-friendly restaurant while his adopters, Alyssa Leon and Tommy Rigdon, grab a bite or catch up with friends.

By all accounts, the big 10-year-old dog has been living the good life ever since Tommy and Alyssa walked into the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Los Angeles with one goal in mind: to adopt him and take him home. Little did they know back then that just a few months later, they’d be ready to make the good life possible for a second dog, too.

Model patient, loveable beefcake

“The most loveable guy from the start. He just wanted to be near people all the time and was super sweet and well behaved,” says Tabitha Newman, Best Friends manager of lifesaving outcomes, about Brew.

At the pet adoption center, Brew showed he loved spending time with dogs as much as he did with people. And he earned high praise from Best Friends veterinarian Dr. Roxanne LeBrun, who fostered Brew after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his skin. At Dr. Roxanne’s home, he proved to be a model patient.

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“He loved nothing more than a comfy couch, where he could snuggle up next to someone. He’s just a loveable beefcake,” says Dr. Roxanne, noting that he was gentle with her small dog and around her toddler, as well. On walks, she could guide him easily on his leash with one hand while she pushed the stroller with the other.

After Brew healed from his surgery, he returned to the pet adoption center, where he resumed his daily routine filled with his favorite pastimes like playing with dogs and spending time with volunteers and staff. They treasured their time with him because they had a feeling the good-natured senior would soon be adopted.

Dog’s photo says it all

After moving to Los Angeles from Oregon, recent college grads Alyssa and Tommy decided they were in a good place (literally and figuratively) to adopt a dog. It was Tommy who first saw Brew’s photo on Best Friends’ website.

Knowing Alyssa was having a tough day, he showed it to her thinking it might cheer her up. “There was this big, goofy cuddle bug,” says Alyssa. That’s the moment they knew they had to meet Brew.

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Tommy and Alyssa went to meet him that very same day. “There was no question he was our dog,” says Alyssa, who remembers bending down to pet Brew and asking him whether he wanted to come home with her (although she already knew he would be).

Neither Brew’s age nor the fact that his health would need to be closely monitored for any signs of cancer made Alyssa or Tommy think twice. If anything, that made them want to adopt Brew more.

On the way home, Alyssa drove and Tommy sat in the back seat with Brew. The big cuddle bug looked out the window for a few minutes and then rested his head in Tommy’s lap and started to snore.

Brew settled into his new home quickly. “He just wants to be by your side,” says Alyssa. That is, until he gets to one of his favorite places: the beach. Then he makes a beeline for the waves.

“He’ll jump in,” says Alyssa. “And he loves chasing the seagulls. For us, the beach can be a little overwhelming with all the people, bikes, and things but not for Brew. We take him as much as we can.”

Adopting a French bulldog friend

The more Tommy and Alyssa got to know Brew, the more they could see how much he loves other dogs. So they started entertaining the idea of adopting another dog. They searched the same way they had before they met Brew, figuring that when they saw a dog they wanted to meet, they’d know.

When they learned about Julien, a French bulldog with one eye who had just arrived, they let the staff know they were interested in meeting and possibly adopting him. Their hearts sank when they learned someone else was already planning to adopt him. The next day, though, they got the good news: That person had changed their mind.

Again, Tommy and Alyssa returned to the pet adoption center. This time, they brought Brew with them. Julien and Brew hit it off, and Tommy and Alyssa fell in love with Julien’s larger-than-life, spirited personality. They adopted him that day, and ever since he and Brew have been BFFs.

“It’s like Brew is Julien’s older brother. He’s teaching him things,” says Alyssa. “They play together constantly, and when they nap, Brew uses Julien as a headrest.”

Alyssa and Tommy say they don’t know what they’d do without Brew and Julien. Now, they feel a sense of community with others who have dogs. When they see people who smile at Brew and Julien on walks, for example, they know they’re making a special connection. “Adopting them has changed everything in the best way,” says Alyssa.

Brew and Julien the dogs sitting next to each other on some stairs decorated with tiles
Photo by Lori Fusaro

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