GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — The Green Bay Booyah has made an exciting roster announcement weeks before opening day.
Flash, a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois (Mal-in-wah), will be joining the Booyah as the official bat dog for the team.
Taylor Dagon, Corporate Service Manager of the Booyah, says it was a simple decision to bring Flash onto the team.
“Our COO, Vern [Stenman], contacted John [Fanta, Booyah Vice President] and said we needed a bat dog for the season. So John said, you know, we need a bat dog and you need to figure it out.”
A phone call to In Touch Dog Training paid off for the Booyah.
“I just started searching for dog training places online and came across In Touch Dog Training. I gave them a call and they were super excited, like I didn’t even finish my sentence and they said ‘Yeah!'”
From there, In Touch Dog Training owner Allen Burnsworth met with Booyah front office staff to discuss the plan of adding a bat dog to the Booyah team. Burnsworth agreed, deciding Flash would be the perfect fit.
Burnsworth says, “We just got found. I thought it was a great opportunity for people to see the way we train and to enjoy seeing a dog that’s really well trained and how much fun they can have off-leash.”
According to the Burnsworth, Flash is the demonstration dog for In Touch Dog Training. Preparing Flash for this new role is not far off from what Flash is already doing.
“The fundamentals are the same, no matter what you’re asking the dog to do. In this particular case, you’re basically asking a dog to go fetch, in this case, he’s just going to fetch a bat.”
Of course, fetching is not the only thing Flash can do.
As seen in the video above, Flash can weave, wait, and bounce off walls.
“Flash’s job is to, well, be flashy, and demonstrate how we train dogs. He’ll work all day long. He’s going to have a good time,” said Burnsworth.
Joining the Booyah is just another stop on the list for Flash. He has made appearances on National Geographic and Appleton Magazine and was also used as the Bite Prevention Education dog for the United States Postal Service.
Bat dogs are becoming more and more common in the baseball world. The Oakland A’s AAA affiliate, Las Vegas Aviators, have Finn, who appeared in a number of viral videos after an umpire grabbed the bat before Finn could reach it.
The American Kennel Club identified a number of other bat dogs, including Clyde, a German Shepard Mix with the Los Angeles Angels.
Of course, although he is not a bat retriever, there is Hank, the Bichon Frise mix found during Milwaukee Brewers’ spring training in 2014.
This is In Touch’s first time performing as bat dog for a baseball team, but Burnsworth and Dagon are looking forward to it.
Burnsworth says, “We really like to support the community and we like to be involved in the community, so I thought this was a great way to do it.”
“I can’t wait to see him after the game interact with fans. I think it will be something unique for our fans, and our front office, to enjoy,” says Dagon.
The Green Bay Booyah’s home opener is June 1st at 7:05 p.m. against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters.