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New bat dog Lambo fits in with Finn at Aviators games

Updated May 2, 2022 - 11:22 am

Finn the Bat Dog often gets the loudest cheers at Las Vegas Ballpark. But this season, fans have been treated to another bat dog patrolling the field.

Lambo, a 3½-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever, is joining her brother Finn at Aviators games. She splits bat dog responsibilities with Finn, making the Triple-A Aviators the first team in professional baseball to have two bat dogs on the field at once.

She made her debut late last season in a limited role and handled full bat dog responsibilities during a UNLV game against Arizona State in March at Las Vegas Ballpark.

Trainer Fred Hassen and his Sit Means Sit Dog Training company rescued Lambo when she was 6 months old. Hassen started training Lambo as a possible successor to Finn, also a rescue who is at least 9 years old, down the road, but saw an opportunity to have both of them on the field.

“I was looking at eventually having her take over,” Hassen said. “But Finn, at his age, hasn’t really slowed down much, if at all. It’s really turned out to be a better show having two of them instead of one.”

Lambo and Finn alternate bat dog responsibilities, with Hassen keeping one by his side while he sends the other to retrieve the bat. Both have trained together with Hassen’s company for a few years and get along well.

There was an adjustment period for Lambo. The act of picking up the bat wasn’t much of a challenge, but the setting of a live sporting event took time to get used to.

“There’s stuff she could do with no problem at home, and then she comes over here and you can’t simulate this,” Hassen said. “There’s a lot of activity going on around home plate. It has taken her a little bit to adapt. It’s a process, but she’s coming along really well.”

The Pacific Coast League is enforcing the pitch clock this season, but it hasn’t impacted the dogs’ on-field routine. Hassen has worked with both to get them on and off the field in less than seven seconds.

The Aviators were glad they could keep both dogs around with the clock rules. Players have grown used to having them on the field and enjoy the entertainment.

“Finn’s the seasoned vet and gets it done every time,” Aviators second baseman Nate Mondou said. “It’s fun to see them work together and see Lambo learn from Finn on a day-to-day basis and get more consistent at what she’s doing.”

Fans and dog lovers have grown fond of Finn since his arrival in 2018, but also have embraced Lambo with loud cheers.

“I’ve been out here seeing Finn for the last couple of years, and I’m going to support Lambo as well,” fan Theresa Hoard said. “It adds a level of cuteness to the game.”

Mondou agrees.

“The fans love it, and you get a big cheer from everybody every time the dog comes out,” he said. “To add (Lambo) to the mix, it’s a little bit more of a show, and they do a great job here.”

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on Twitter.

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