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Hank the Ballpark Pup

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That day, though, a scruffy, dirty, and slightly injured little dog wandered up to staff at the Brewers' Spring Training camp and made himself at home. This pup was fearless, and he knew a good thing when he saw it. Not long after, the little guy was named Hank (after the great Hank Aaron), and his story was just starting.

Hank was cared for by staff on site, and soon Brewers coach Ed Sedar became his unofficial guardian. Sedar would feed Hank from the clubhouse buffet each day, and he quickly became friendly with various players and staff. It was clear, though, that the priority was to find Hank's home, and the Brewers set out to do just that.

By using their social and traditional media channels, the Brewers posted regular updates on Hank's exploits. Every day, Hank would make visits to the team's clubhouse, where he interacted with players and coaches at their lockers. Later, Hank went from station to station with the players as they participated in drills, ran occasionally with the Klement's Famous Racing Sausages, and hosted meet-and-greets with visiting players, celebrities and fans. Outfitted in a Brewers jersey, photos and updates of Hank's activities were posted every day by the Brewers, and it wasn't long before national media picked up on the story.

Locally, nationally and internationally, Hank's story appeared everywhere - ABC World News Tonight, The Today Show, People Magazine, The Tonight Show and countless others all featured Hank's heart-warming tale, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran photos and stories about Hank virtually every day for over a month.

What didn't happen, though, was just as surprising. Despite the team's best efforts, nobody came forward to claim Hank as their lost pet. Working with the Wisconsin Humane Society, however, the Brewers arranged to have Hank adopted by a team executive, and Hank's forever home shifted north.

Hank's popularity in Milwaukee preceded his arrival to the city, and the Brewers rolled out a line of merchandise to celebrate this popularity. In addition, the team partnered with the Wisconsin Humane Society to donate 20% of the retail sales from all Hank items to the "Hank Fund." By September, the fund had reached a level of $150,000 through this contribution.

Hank's story in Milwaukee included an Opening Day introduction on the field, a sold-out bobblehead night, photo sessions and meet-and-greets with fans at games, a Hank House (dog house) built to host Hank on his Miller Park visits, and a full-size, "walkabout" mascot in Hank's likeness. In January 2015, Hank was named "Dog of the Year" at the CW Network's World Dog Awards in Los Angeles. The award was presented to the canine who made the biggest impact on pop culture in 2014.

Hank continues to be as much of a part of the Brewers as the team's other mascots, and he is welcomed warmly by his friends Bernie Brewer and the Klement's Famous Racing Sausages. But what made Hank unique was how he came to be part of the organization. The Brewers didn't find Hank; Hank found the Brewers.