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Beloved Dog of Late 'Collector of Bedford Street' Needs a New Home

By Andrea Swalec | January 25, 2013 1:32pm

MANHATTAN — The West Village fixture known as the "collector of Bedford Street" who died last week was rarely seen without his pet dog, Penny.

Now, after Larry Selman's death at age 70 Sunday, the neighbors who coordinated the disabled man's care are seeking a new home for the pooch.

Friends of Selman — who raised as much as $500,000 for charity from passersby near his home and who was the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary "The Collector of Bedford Street" —  said the dog is an ideal pet but that they cannot keep her.

Penny, a 14-year-old beagle and Australian shepherd mix, "would bond with anyone," said Sally Dill, a friend of Selman's for nearly 20 years who is currently helping care for the dog.

"She's very sweet and very smart," Dill explained. "She's the type of dog you call and she comes right back to you … When she knows she's going to get a bone, she gets so excited she just about jumps out of her skin."

The 39-pound black and tan rescue dog, who even has her own Facebook page, is friendly with other animals and nonchalant in the face of confrontation, Dill said.

"Other dogs growl at her, and she could care less," she said.

Neighbor Kathy Yates, who spoke with Selman regularly for 18 years, said the canine is "stressed" to now be alone and hopes she can get a new home fast.

"She's a little fearful now," Yates said, "so she would need love and reassurance."

Selman and friends picked up Penny from a kennel in upstate Kingston, N.Y., in 2001, Dill said.

"It was important for Larry to have pets," she said. "He lived alone and he needed companionship."

Over the course of 50 years, Selman raised as much as half a million dollars for groups including AIDS Walk New York, United Cerebral Palsy and the pediatric AIDS clinic at the former St. Vincent's Hospital, according to his friend Alice Elliott, who made the film about him.

He was recognized by the Muscular Dystrophy Association for being a top local fundraiser, and received an award in 2009 along with former Secretary of State Colin Powell for his commitment to public service.

Selman's dog had been fed a vegan diet, but she doesn't seem picky, Dill added.

"She eats anything. She's always looking for food," she said.

Those interested in adopting Penny can contact Kathy Yates at ktyakes@gmail.com.