Brewers’ Pup Enjoys New Digs
Milwaukee is no stranger to Hanks who know how to find their way home.
The city first served as the podium for Hammerin’ Hank Aaron’s major league debut and later as the farewell setting of the legend’s storied career. Now Milwaukee, the Brewers and a Green Knight alum have all found themselves welcoming another Hank with open arms and hearts.
The stray dog walk-on who now bears the same name first made himself known during spring training in Phoenix. When the team was unable to find the pup’s owner Marti Wronski ’94, vice president and general counsel for the Milwaukee Brewers, stepped forward and offered up her own home.
As Hank made the transition from the balmy Arizona climate to Wisconsin’s version of early spring, the new impromptu mascot received a celebrity-style welcome home at Mitchell International Airport that included Mayor Tom Barrett and plenty of fans.
Since then, he’s begun to settle into his new surroundings, taking it all in stride. The snow and cold didn’t faze him one bit, Wronski says. “I just think he’s happy to have a place to be.”
Hank has joined Marti, her husband Andy, and their four children – Jonah, Luke, Sam and Charlie – ranging in age from 5 to 11. “I cannot even explain the extent to which this dog loves people,” Wronski adds. “The more people the better, so the craziness of my household is just perfect for him.” He’s also getting along beautifully with Bella, the family’s miniature goldendoodle.
Thought to be a mix of Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu, there’s also no mistaking the characteristic signs of poodle in Hank, Wronski says. “When he is really fired up he starts doing this funny little sneezing thing.”
That cuteness has garnered a whole lot of media attention to date, including an appearance in People magazine and a stint as the number-one trending subject on Facebook and Twitter. “For whatever reason, he tugged some heartstrings,” Wronski says. “It’s just that touch of goodness, and as long as we can keep him doing that for people we absolutely will.”
While the pup’s newfound fame has provided a warm-hearted vibe to the Brewers’ organization and fans across the nation, it has simultaneously helped boost a related cause. A portion of the retail sales from Hank T-shirts and gear will be donated to the Wisconsin Humane Society.
“Frankly, it has really opened this baseball club up to what else is out there in terms of animal-focused rescue charities,” Wronski says. “It’s one of those funny accidental things, but I think it’s doing a lot of good for a cause that we might not have otherwise had a natural synergy with.”
Although this new addition has become larger than life, there’s still a realization that he is a little creature who needs plenty of care and time away from the limelight. “We will continue to take care of Hank as our pet first and foremost,” Wronski says.
It seems baseball, the Brewers and the Wronskis have all hit a homer with Hank’s warm embrace.
April 1, 2014