The story is Ben’s Tail, although it’s his nose that made him famous. Let’s start at the beginning.
Sired by a champion hunting dog in 1996, a pudgy Yellow Labrador pup named Ben was born. Following in his father’s footsteps, Ben trained with the most accomplished hunting dogs in the west. In 1998, Ben was selected to train in a K-9 drug and explosives odor detection course. He was particularly well-suited to the task, and 10 weeks later graduated at the top of the class.
He soon deployed as a Drug Detection K-9 for the state patrol with his trainer and partner, Brad Romero. On his first day on the job, Brad and Ben stopped a speeding vehicle on the interstate. Even though the car appeared to be just a family traveling with two young children, Ben knew there was trouble afoot. Ben soon located a pound and a half of cocaine in a manufactured air bag compartment in the dashboard! This was Ben’s first official K9 search!
Early in 1999, Ben competed in his first K-9 competition and placed second out of 22 K-9 teams. By year’s end, Ben had competed in four of the nine state K-9 trials and was crowned the 1999 champion in narcotics detection.
Ben traveled over 200,000 miles in his five-year career (that’s 35 in dog years) and located over $27,000,000 in illegal narcotics and more than $750,000 in illegal drug money. Not only was Ben the state champion, he was also a true American K-9 hero.
During his career, Ben demonstrated his keen sense of smell at dozens of schools while Brad taught hundreds of school children the importance of saying no to drugs.
After a successful career of fighting crime with the state patrol, Ben retired to a quiet life in the foothills with Brad and his wife Sally, who also retired from a career in law enforcement.
Brad, a state trooper, was selected as the very first K-9 officer in his area office, in 1998. Brad deployed with two K-9's in his career: first Ben, and then Nikita, a Belgian Malinois. After Nikita retired, Brad transferred to the Academy, becoming the departmental K-9 trainer.
Brad initially became interested in K9 nutrition and the importance of their optimal nutrition and researched the highest quality pet products while training these elite dogs. “K-9's are the equivalent of Olympic athletes. They must remain in top physical condition. Their diet is crucial, and a species correct diet is the best choice,” says Brad.
Sally opened Ben’s Bark Avenue Bistro in 2005, and Brad joined her when he retired in 2010. After more than a decade and thousands of healthy pets later, the Romero’s renamed and secured their new trademarked brand name for the store, Ben's Barketplace® The Health Food Store for Dogs and Cats.
"I really love this place! My dog loves their products (raw medallions from Nature's Variety) and I love the customer service! Very helpful and knowledgeable staff."
— Tiffany G.
"Best pet store I've ever been to. Super nice and knowledgeable staff. The selection of food is above and beyond. We'll be back for all of our pets needs."
— Shane R.
"This place is exactly what your cat or dog needs when you decide to finally take good care of your furry family member. When I started reading up on what was in my cat's food and complications of them eating corn meal and chicken by-product, it turned my stomach and shocked me."
— Jessica K.