Dog’s overnight antics caught on camera

Officer Ben the brown dog outside wearing a blue leash
Discover how Officer Ben went from homeless pup to canine security guard to beloved family pet.
By Christina London

What do pets do when we’re not around? At Best Friends, it’s not that much of a mystery. (We do have security cameras, after all.) Mostly, it’s just a lot of snoozing and playing with their toys. But every once in a while, they do something that truly takes us by surprise.

Big Ben comes to Best Friends

Meet Ben: a big, handsome boy with deep eyes that burrow into your soul. Ben came to the Best Friends Pet Resource Center in Bentonville, Arkansas, from a nearby shelter where he had been for several months without being adopted. So shelter staff contacted Best Friends to help find Ben a loving home. That’s one of the most important ways shelters across the country have reached no-kill — by working together to save pets who need extra time or care.

There are two things to know about Ben:

  1. He’s incredibly smart. There’s a lot going on behind those serious eyebrows. From how he strategized during playtime to his curiosity about the world around him, our staff could tell Ben needed lots of enrichment activities to stay engaged.
  2. He loves a pup cup. A tiny cup filled with whipped cream is Ben’s favorite treat. When Best Friends volunteers took Ben for a walk, they knew the excursion would end with a stop at the on-site coffee shop to get one. Ben would even go right up to the counter and order himself.

The great escape

Several weeks after Ben’s arrival, a staff member got quite a shock when she arrived at the pet resource center for her 7 a.m. shift. There, waiting for her in the lobby behind the front doors, was none other than Ben. After closing the night before, he had somehow managed to sneak out of his room.

What did Ben do with his night of freedom? It was time to review the security footage.

[Dogs find treasure at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary]

Turns out, this clever pup had quite the evening. Ben visited every part of the pet resource center, as though he were a nighttime security guard on patrol. He stopped by the retail shop to inspect the inventory. He made sure there was no funny business happening at the dog wash. When he was done making his rounds, he headed to the lobby where he tested every chair and couch. Then he plopped down and waited until morning for staff to arrive.

Officer Ben reporting for duty

Ben’s infamous outing landed him a job as the official dog security guard of the pet resource center. (He even has a badge, so you know it’s legit.) Everyone started calling him by a new moniker: Officer Ben. And how did he receive payment for his services? In pup cups, of course.

[Volunteers deliver cool treats to Dogtown pups]

Being a canine security guard is hard work. Plus, he had a case of “happy tail,” which is when dogs wag their tails so forcefully that they hurt themselves. To heal up and get a break from center life, Officer Ben went to stay at a foster home where he could just play and relax. However, he was still up to his old tricks. Once, the foster volunteer put Officer Ben in his crate. When she returned home, she was perplexed to find him sitting next to the crate — with the door still closed and locked.

Soon after leaving foster care, Officer Ben was adopted by a loving family. Today, he has a big backyard (with a tall fence) to release all his energy and humans to shower with kisses. Although retired from security guard work, he seems to be enjoying his new role as the world’s biggest lapdog. But we will always remember Officer Ben for his overnight antics.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

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You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

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