No paws to Hank's popularity: Craze over stray-dog-turned-Brewers-pup has legs



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MILWAUKEE — The fascination with Hank the dog has legs.

The stray pup wandered into the Milwaukee Brewers' spring training facility in Arizona last year. Later adopted by a team executive, the fluffy white pooch remains a top fan favorite.

In time for Monday's home opener, a kiosk of Hank-related items has been erected on the field level concourse at Miller Park. It features a variety of items for sale, including Hank T-shirts, plush toys and dog leashes.

A locked display case features an array of expensive collectibles for the most dedicated Hank fans. A Hank-worn All-Star game jersey, made especially for him, can be purchased for a whopping $1,200.

The dog's bowl, with food residue still visible, has a $100 price tag. A bed on which Hank once slept can be had for $250.

Want a framed picture of Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy with the precious pup that includes swatches of jerseys worn by each? Shell out $175 and take it home.

"This is just of function of the demand for Hank merchandise," Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger said Thursday.

The Wisconsin Humane Society receives 20 percent of revenue from the sale of Hank merchandise. To date, more than $200,000 has been raised, the team said.

Hank again will be honored with a bobblehead doll, which will be adorned in pink and doled out to fans attending a Mother's Day game.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Hank is extremely popular," Schlesinger said.

Hank visited the Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix last week to raise awareness for pet adoption programs at the Arizona Humane Society. He will make appearances for charitable causes in the Milwaukee area during the season, and return for several visits to Miller Park, too.

Otherwise, Schlesinger said things are also looking up with ticket sales, which are up more than 15 percent from the same time a year ago despite the team's late-season collapse. The Brewers missed the playoffs for a third straight year.

"Our fans shared our disappointment the finish last year but they are committed to this team and are showing it with ticket purchases," he said.

To date, the Brewers have sold about 1.6 million tickets.

The Brewers also unveiled a variety of unusual food options during a sneak preview Thursday at Miller Park, including nachos on a stick and an 18-inch bratwurst topped with shoestring fries, gravy, cheese curds, fried sauerkraut, cheese sauce, fried jalapenos, sour cream and chives. Buffalo-based Delaware North Cos., the stadium's food vendor, developed the items.

Doughnut sandwiches created by Milwaukee's Holy Moley craft doughnut shop are also new. The offerings include the Goober Jobber, a doughnut filled with custard, pretzels, peanuts, salted caramel and peanut butter.

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