PHOENIX - That little white dog is now a big leaguer.
Hank, the bedraggled ball of fur who wandered into the Brewers' spring training complex back on President's Day looking for one more chance, will head to Milwaukee and his new home on Sunday.
"There are so many people who have been part of the Hank story: fans, players and coaches, front office staff, media and all of those in his circle of caregivers," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said Friday. "We're grateful to have an opportunity to make Hank a permanent member of the Brewers family, but even more important, we're thrilled that he is going to a great family that will ensure that he is loved and comfortable in his new Wisconsin home."
Hank will fly back to Milwaukee on a charter flight with Brewers executives, sponsors and family members and will be welcomed to the city by Mayor Tom Barrett and County Executive Chris Abele.
The Wisconsin Humane Society received more than 1,000 offers to adopt Hank, but have not identified his new owners.
The dog was found wandering around Maryvale Baseball Park by a security guard on Feb. 17. He was covered with dirt and it appeared the dog had been hit by a car. A team official took him to a veterinarian, who estimated the pooch was 2-to-3 years old. Team employees hung lost dog signs around the Maryvale neighborhood on Phoenix's west side.
He was named Hank in honor of Milwaukee Braves and Brewers great Hank Aaron and became an immediate hit with the players, who took turns walking and caring for the dog.
Still no definitive word, by the way, on exactly what kind of dog Hank is. He looks like a sort of mixed breed, maybe with some combination of poodle, terrier, Maltese and Lhasa apso. But whatever his pedigree, he's earned his place on the major league roster.
"We want to thank all of those who have made the effort to give Hank the care he needed down here in Arizona, as the top priority has always been to put his health and happiness first," Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger said. "In addition to this being a captivating story, our goal has been to shed more light on the issue of stray and homeless pets, a problem that is not unique to just Arizona and Wisconsin."
The Brewers have worked closely with the Arizona and Wisconsin Humane Societies to give Hank proper care and to help raise awareness of animals needing homes.
"We are so grateful for the amazing care he has received, and for the way the players and the Brewers organization have used Hank's story to highlight the needs of homeless animals like him," Wisconsin Humane Society President Anne Reid said. "We know he'll love Milwaukee."