In honor of the Twins’ first-ever dog day, meet (some of) their four-legged companions

At this point, Bennie López, Pablo and Kaylee’s eight-pound Shih Tzu mix is a seasoned veteran of Bark in the Park events. The six-year-old pup attended a few of them at Marlins Park when his dad pitched in Miami, but Monday will mark the first time Bennie — and other four-legged friends — have been allowed into Target Field for a game.

“He loves it. He loves being out at the park,” Pablo López said. “He loves being out at the park so obviously coming to … a place like this and then there’s going to be more dogs, he gets really pumped to attend these.”

Bennie is one of 250 dogs who will attend Target Field’s first-ever Bark at the Park. In honor of the event, which has sold out, here’s a look at some of the Twins’ four-legged friends and the impact that they’ve made in the lives of their human companions.

Bowie Baldelli

Around 15 brown and black Beauceron puppies were climbing all over each other, wiggling around and making noises, trying to get catch the attention of the humans who had come to see them. And then there was one, curled up in a ball, in the grass, away from all her littermates.

She was the “runtiest of them all,” and though they weren’t planning on getting a dog — not then at least — Rocco and Allie Baldelli couldn’t help but fall in love. That was nearly a decade ago.

She was quiet and timid but when she was needed to be a protector, she became one. Named both after late singer David Bowie and a song by Baldelli’s favorite band, Phish, called “David Bowie,” Bowie bonded with her new humans quickly.

If they would throw a ball or stick too far, she wouldn’t go fetch it, wanting instead to stay close to her parents. She slept next to them in their bed for the first nine years of her life. Now, as she approaches her 10th birthday, it’s harder for her to get up and down so she sleeps as close as she can, leaning up against their bed.

“For us, she’s the greatest companion you could hope for,” the Twins manager said.

Ace, Deuce, Tex and Rip Paddack

It was the middle of the pandemic when Chris Paddack’s family surprised him with a Border Collie, whom he named Ace. A couple years later, Deuce, a German Shorthaired Pointer, whom he calls his “dream dog,” joined the family. After Paddack had elbow surgery in May 2022, he had some extra time, and he got to work on training Deuce.

Tex, a British Black Labrador, joined the pack last offseason at just eight-weeks old. Rip, a three-year-old British Black Lab, is the latest addition and Paddack will pick him up after the Twins’ season concludes.

While Paddack is up in Minnesota, Deuce, Tex and Rip are spending the season in Arkansas at Breeze Hill Retrievers, where they’re training as hunting dogs so they can join the pitcher in the offseason on his hunts.

“I love the happiness the dogs bring me, I love training, it’s kind of a happy place, an escape for me when I go home,” Paddack said. “ … A lot of people are like ‘Dude how do you manage having four dogs?’ and this and that and the other but I love it. It does bring me happiness in the offseason when I get to go hunting with my dogs that I’ve trained.”

Ace is back home in Texas at Paddack’s property, protecting his mom and serving as a guard dog. In the offseason, he joins Paddack, where he helps out by herding the cows. When Paddack spent almost all of last season rehabbing in Fort Myers, Fla., Ace joined him. They went on fishing trips together and runs at night.

“It was nice to have a friend to come home to,” he said. “When I got away from the game … I was able to come home to a wagging tail and a happy dog.”

Champs Vázquez

Christian Vázquez had two surprises for the woman he wanted to marry. One, a black and white English Bulldog puppy. And the other?

“We put the ‘Do you want to marry me plate,’ … in the necklace,” Vázquez said, referring to the dog’s collar.

She said yes and now Gabriela and Christian Vázquez have two sons, with a baby on the way.

But their dog, whom they brought home in 2017, holds a special place in their hearts and his moniker is special to the couple. The duo decided on Champs, named after the sports bar that they met in in Puerto Rico during 2015.

“(He’s) the first son we have,” Vázquez said. “He’s part of the family.”

Bennie López

Though he didn’t grow up with a dog, it wasn’t all too difficult for Kaylee López to convince Pablo that they should add one to their family. It was November 2019, when Bennie, tiny black ball of fur with a cute underbite, entered their lives. The love they felt was instant.

“It was an unexplored area of love for me,” López said.

With Bennie as their inspiration, the couple quickly got involved with shelters in Miami. They hosted a Pickleball for Pets this past November to raise money for Paws4You Rescue and when the Twins recently announced their Pablo Day promotion, the couple selected Ruff Start as one of the charities that will receive a portion of the proceeds from the ticket package.

“We may not be able to rescue and adopt every single dog that needs it but if we could help in any way, shape or form, we are more than happy to do so,” López said. “ … We have all the desire in the world to help in any way we can.”

Hunter and Buddy Okert

Steven Okert’s Husky Blue didn’t really care for toys that much.

“She just liked to steal other dog’s balls and make them chase her around the park,” he said.

That’s what happened the day he met the woman who would become his wife. She was at the dog park in Arizona with her roommate’s dog playing fetch when Blue snatched the ball, sparking a conversation between the two.

For a time, Okert and his wife, Danielle, had four dogs — Blue, her dog Luna, whom they brought down from her home in Alaska, Hunter, a Husky who is now just over two years old and Buddy, a German Shepherd that Danielle had been fostering.

Blue and Luna have sadly since passed, but Hunter and Buddy have joined their parents in Minnesota for the first time during the baseball season.

“It’s nice going home every day and having both her and the dogs,” Okert said. “Have a tough outing, dogs don’t care. Go home, they’re excited to see you.”

Groot, Rocket and Loki Correa

Everywhere Carlos Correa goes, his dogs are with him. Included in the intricate tattoo sleeve that Correa has on his left arm are images of his dogs, Groot, a Pomeranian Husky mix, that he got in 2017 and Rocket, a Pomeranian mix, that his wife, Daniella, rescued while in Mexico.

The couple later added Loki, a Havanese, to the mix, as well. Originally his sister’s dog, Carlos and Daniella took in Loki when his younger sister left for four months to Puerto Rico. By the time she had returned, Loki had already bonded with Groot and Rocket. Correa is a noted Marvel aficionado and all three are named for characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“It’s a little tougher to spend time with them because the kids take most of it but at the same time, the kids enjoy being with them and playing with them,” Correa said.

Yogi Jeffers

Twins catcher Ryan Jeffers is allergic to dogs so when him and his wife, Lexi, were looking to add one to the family, they knew they needed one who was non-allergenic.

Enter Yogi, a sweet, albeit quite anxious, four-and-a-half year-old Labradoodle named after Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra and cartoon character Yogi Bear.

Like his father and one of his namesakes, he excels at catching — though Yogi prefers frisbees to baseballs.

Yogi, Jeffers said, is their best friend and he’s formed a close bond with the couple’s toddler, Harper, as well, especially as she gets a bit older.

“They’re always happy to see you, they always want snuggles,” Jeffers said. “They’re always just super excited. It’s always just a good reset when you get home.”

Charlie and Sadie Jax

Twins reliever Griffin Jax was in between his military service and his time in baseball when he decided to adopt a puppy.

“I was lonely and I wanted a dog,” he said.

Enter Charlotte — better known as Charlie — a chocolate Labrador, now 6. Jax found Charlie as part of an adoption agency run by a retired Coast Guard pilot who, along with his wife, would go to local farms in some of the Southeastern states and rescue dogs from overbred litters that were no longer wanted.

He would then bring the dogs to a PetSmart on Saturday mornings. Jax paid $100 to select Charlie, whom he described as “the perfect soul dog.”

“She wants nothing but to love on you and cuddle you and lay in your lap and wants nothing more than to just be close to you,” Jax said.

Three years later, Jax and his wife, Savannah, added Sadie, a pure bred black English Labrador to the family.

“She’s the complete opposite of Charlie — just a spazz, super energetic, klutz. She’s just like happy to be alive,” Jax said. “They’re very different but they’re great, good girls.”

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