Brewing up America’s pastime: Hank earns canine consideration


A bichon frise, the type of dog that Hank is, sits in the grass. Hank the Dog looks forward to his sophomore season with the Brewers. Photo provided by Brittanica Image Quest

The smell of the freshly made hot dogs, taste of David sunflower seeds and sights of the players warming up fill the aroma that is Miller Park during the summer as our beloved Milwaukee Brewers play an old-fashioned game dating back to 1845. But it’s more than just a game: it’s a national pastime, one that has become a staple of American culture. Since I was handed a baseball bookcase when I was eight days old, I have become infatuated with the sport, and as I have aged it has become the hallmark of my interest. With this backdrop, I decided to take to The Highlander Online to showcase my thoughts about the local bunch of guys living out thousands of children’s dreams: the Milwaukee Brewers.

Doesn’t everyone know the story of Hank the Dog? It just has to warm your heart. The wonderful scent of optimism plaguing the Brewers camp at the start of last year’s spring training as the players warmed up in the outfield was so nice to see.

And then an 11-pound dog runs it out of nowhere, having been run over by a car and with two chipped teeth.

Cute, right? Until finding out that oh, by the way, said dog has no tag and no owner, even confirmed by the Arizona Humane Society. So, what to do with it?

Make money. Hank has his own Miller Park doghouse, t-shirts, jerseys, bobble heads, a fund provided just for him at the Wisconsin Humane Society, and is the most famous dog this side of Lake Michigan.

After a year of frolicking around Miller Park and even making it into the coveted Sports Illustrated, Hank grabbed some national attention. So much so that the Brewers were invited to the CW Network’s World Dog Awards in Los Angeles. Hosted by George Lopez, Hank was one of five finalists for “Dog of the Year.”

Escorted by a special marketing deal with Southwest Airlines, Hank and the Brewers organization were able to generate some interest in the middle of tundra-esque winter Wisconsin, where the notion that the Brewers exist is foreign.

But Hank was not just some finalist for an arbitrary dog award. Ladies and gentlemen, Hank the Dog is the “Dog of the Year” for 2014, bringing recognition to our hometown hero.

As someone who has no experience with the canine world, I must admit, it’s nice to see some attention given to Milwaukee. As one of the smallest markets in baseball, the fact that a dog is what we need to garner some respect is ridiculous, but hey, let’s leave that argument to another day. If anything, maybe Hank helped, as the Brewers were in first place for the vast majority of the season.

So, cheers to year two of this awesome animal. For our favorite sport, it only fits that “man’s best friend” play a vital role in a relaxing summer.