If you've ever been to Peet's Coffee in downtown Pleasanton, you may have seen Gryphon Benn socializing with his friends. But, Gryphon isn't any ordinary 3-year-old; he's a stunning 75-pound Dalmatian with a black patch of fur over his left eye who meets his dog pals every Monday for "coffeedog."
"Gryphon is very friendly and enjoys meeting kids, adults and other dogs," owner Kathy Benn said. "When we're sitting at Peet's on Main Street, people are drawn to him and excited to interact with him."
As of last week, Gryphon became more than "the most loving and cuddly dog" the Benns have ever had. He's now Pleasanton's 2022 Ambassadog, an honorary title auctioned at Valley Humane Society's (VHS) annual Tails at Twilight gala last October.
Gryphon, surrounded by his human family, was given his official title at the City Council meeting on April 19.
"Valley Humane Society has been saving animal lives and supporting our community for more than 30 years, so we are pleased to have the City participate with them in recognizing the Pleasanton Ambassadog," deputy city manager Pamela Ott said in a statement.
"Having an official canine representative highlights our dog-friendly community, while recognizing a valuable local nonprofit organization and its efforts to save and improve the lives of Tri-Valley companion animals," Ott added.
Gryphon is the fourth Ambassadog in city history, following Red Haas, Amber Hall and Jeffrey Williams.
Over the next year, he and his family will participate in a number of events, take part in a Tri-Valley Community Television interview and have an honored spot in Pleasanton's annual Hometown Holiday Parade.
"Gryphon will be at as many dog-friendly activities as he can," Benn said. "I'd like him to be present at as many Valley Humane Society programs as possible."
Benn said when Gryphon isn't completing his Ambassadog duties, he will spend his days running and chasing balls on the beach when visiting Benn's grandchildren in Monterey, cuddling on the couch and continuing his specialized training.
"He's gone through several obedience classes and has his Canine Good Citizen certification through the (American Kennel Club). He's currently enrolled in a tricks class," Benn added, noting that Gryphon hopes to become a pet therapy dog in the near future and work with children through the Valley Humane Canine Comfort Paws to Read program.
At home with the Benns, Gryphon is the younger brother of Bella, a 15-year-old Puggle and Zazzles, a 7-year-old feline.
"Gryphon is like one of our kids ... (Our pets) bring us so much love and joy," Benn said. "By doing this for him, we also helped many more animals and families."