Smokies head groundskeeper surprised with new puppy

State / Regional

KODAK, Tenn. (WATE) – The Tennessee Smokies’ head groundskeeper has received a wonderful surprise just a few weeks after his beloved companion “Hound Dog” passed away.

Smokies head groundskeeper Eric Taylor gifted a new puppy. The Boyd Sports Group, owners and operators of the Smokies, surprised him with the furry new friend in the spirit of the holidays.

The puppy is only 8 weeks old. No word on a name just yet.

Smokies grounds crew dog and fan favorite, Hound Dog, died last month after suffering a stroke.

The importance of Hound Dog to the Smokies community was no more apparent than when he went missing in September. The Smokies’ broadcaster offered season tickets as a reward for the return of the beloved canine, as did the president of the Smokies and one of their vendors added $250 cash. One woman went as far as offering one month of free rent/mortgage for the return of Hound Dog.

The Tennessee Smokies, a minor-league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, play at Smokies Stadium in Kodak, Tenn.

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