Is Hank the Dog, the Milwaukee Brewers’ unofficial – and adorable – canine mascot the real deal, or is he a different dog brought in to replace the original Hank, who died without any press coverage? The Brewers insist Hank is the real deal, the same rescue dog that’s been with the team since Spring Training 2014.
As YardBarker reports, the Brewers held a press conference Friday to put ugly rumors of the death of Hank to rest. But first, a little background information.
Back in 2014, according to USA Today, the Brewers were getting their Spring Training on down in Arizona when they noticed the little pup wandering the grounds of their facilities. Unable to find the dog’s owner, the Brewers unofficially adopted him. The formerly homeless pup became an adorable addition to the then-struggling team, and on March 14, 2014, Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin announced that Hank – named for legendary home run hitter Hank Aaron – was officially an unofficial member of the team.
“Hank, you’re one of the few walk-ons we’ve ever had here in camp. You’ve been a good teammate. I think that you add to our ballclub.”
Melvin then gave Hank a little Brewers jersey, and a star was born.
Hank became a sensation in Milwaukee, accompanying the team wherever they went, looking impossibly cute at press conferences. He became a star in the hearts and minds of Brewers fans.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) March 5, 2016
And if you believe in that sort of thing, Hank the Dog may have helped the Brewers’ fortunes on the field. Coming off of a dismal 2013 season, the Brewers finished 2014 above.500 and were contenders for a postseason appearance, for a little while at least.
So that’s Hank’s origin story. Now, why do people seem to think he’s died and been replaced? To answer that question, there are two things you need to know about Hank. First, since he was homeless when he was found, there’s really no telling how old he is. Second, being a feral dog, he was looking pretty bedraggled when he was found.
And so a conspiracy theory was born, according to the Comeback. The conspiracy goes something like this: the 2016 Hank – or at least, the animal that the Brewers are trying to pass off as Hank – looks a lot healthier, cleaner, and generally different from the 2014 Hank. At least, if internet conspiracy theorists are to be believed.
Let’s just acknowledge its a different dog and move on pic.twitter.com/q93Mdtg7JN
— akschaaf (@akschaaf) December 11, 2015
The Milwaukee Brewers management is having none of that, however. On Friday, the team held a press conference confirming that, yes indeed, Hank the Dog is alive and well, has not been replaced by an impostor, and is the same formerly homeless pup that has been with the Brewers since 2014.
Specifically, the team veterinarian (how many Major League Baseball teams have a team veterinarian?), Dr. William S. Rice, who works at a Milwaukee veterinary clinic, compared the microchip embedded in the current dog being passed off as Hank, as well as dental records. Both avenues of investigation revealed the same conclusion: 2014 Hank and 2016 Hank are the same dog. Dr. Rice even signed a notarized statement in case the matter winds up in court or something.
— Jimmy Carlton (@jimmycarlton88) March 4, 2016
So that settles it. That is, unless you’re willing to believe that the Brewers are still perpetrating a hoax by hiring a vet to lie at a press conference. But really, that’s all a little much, when they could have just as easily admitted that Hank the Dog had died and rescued a new pup to be the team mascot.
Do you believe Hank the Dog is real, or has he died and been replaced by a cleaner, healthier, better-looking dog? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images]