Barky Pines Shelter Dog Walks Off With Puppy Bowl Hearts

Mr. Bean with owner Dasha Melgarejo.

Where do you plan to watch Super Bowl LVIII?

At South Beach Brewing Company’s taproom just off Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, pre-game attention will be divided between NFL points and predictions, and 131 very cute puppies running, sniffing and frolicking in the 20th annual Puppy Bowl.

And the house favorite — aside from perhaps the Strawberry Orange Mimosa Sparkling Ale — will be Mr. Bean, a little black, tan and white papillon born without his front legs.

He was nurtured at Barky Pines Animal Rescue & Sanctuary in Loxahatchee and adopted by the owners of South Beach Brewing, Lorenzo Borghese and partner Dasha Melgarejo, a longtime seasonal resident of Wellington.

“He’s quite the little star,” Melgarejo said in the run-up to the big game.

Elizabeth Accomando, who runs Barky Pines, said she got an e-mail from the Puppy Bowl’s producers looking for a special needs dog to include in the show. She responded with photos and a video. In September, a crew from Animal Planet came to the sanctuary, interviewed Accomando and filmed Mr. Bean interacting with the horses and other rescue animals.

Palm Beach Animal Care & Control brought Mr. Bean to Barky Pines when he was about six months old, said Accomando, who also serves as president of the Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors.

“He didn’t know how to walk,” she said. “We started standing him up. It took about a month to build up his legs. Now he walks on his back legs.”

During the process, the most touching thing was how the other rescue animals reacted to him. “The other dogs helped him,” Accomando said. “They’d bring him toys and let him lean on them.”

Through a friend, Melgarejo saw a picture of Mr. Bean and decided she wanted to adopt him. However, she was out of town and knew that she would not be the only one wanting to take Mr. Bean home. So, she asked her mother, Dorothy Melgarejo of Wellington (and New York), to go meet the special pup.

“Mom fell in love with him,” Melgarejo said.

Since then, Mr. Bean has been featured in People magazine and the New York Post, among many other media outlets.

Now Mr. Bean lives with Melgarejo, Borghese and their two other dogs in Miami Beach. He doesn’t let his two-leggedness keep him down.

“I’ve never seen a happier dog,” Melgarejo said. “Everything’s just normal to him. He makes himself fit right in.”

She said she often takes Mr. Bean in a stroller to watch Borghese play tennis. But there hasn’t been a lot of time lately for overhand slams as the couple got their taproom at 210 11th Street in Miami Beach ready for its grand opening Jan. 10.

Borghese is an Italian American entrepreneur whose paternal grandmother was Princess Marcella Borghese, founder of the Borghese cosmetics line. He was the star of the 2006 season of the hit TV series “The Bachelor.” In 2017, he opened his brewing company.

Blood Orange Sunset is the company’s first award-winning India Pale Ale with electrolytes, and it’s certain that plenty of it will be served up as taproom patrons cheer on Mr. Bean.

Of course, you don’t have to go to South Beach to watch Team Ruff take on Team Fluff in the three-hour canine spectacular. The show will be broadcast this Sunday at 2 p.m. on Animal Planet, Discovery, Discovery+ and TBS, among other outlets.

The Puppy Bowl has featured more than 1,000 pooches, ages 3 to 6 months, battling for the coveted Lombarky Trophy. This year puppies from some 70 shelters are featured, including six special needs dogs. Most are available for adoption. For more information, visit www.puppybowl.com.

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