TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — In May, WFLA.com told you about a St. Petersburg kennel that wanted to donate a Belgian Malinois puppy to someone working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dee Dee Hancock, a registered nurse at Advent Health in Tampa, submitted a video nomination from her colleague, clinical exercise physiologist Shane Lindsay.
“I worked with Shane and knew his background and he told me his dream was to one day have a Belgian Malinois. So, I thought how perfect that was,” Hancock said. “So we made a little video, my son edited the video and we nominated him. You couldn’t find a better, more deserving person. He is a hard worker.
The Belgian Malinois puppy was bred and trained by Brianna Holzerland with Holzerland protection dogs. Holzerland told WFLA.com in May that they wanted to choose a candidate who had experience with the breed.
When Holzerland learned that Lindsay was a former K9 Marine… she knew she had found her winner.
“Shane was the perfect person. Once we saw the video sent by his colleague Dee Dee, he was perfect. He worked with them (Belgian Malinois) abroad. He had the experience,” said Holland.
On Friday, Advent Health staff, along with Lindsay’s family, surprised him on his lunch break with his new companion, Mako.
“Oh my god, I have the most amazing working family,” Lindsay said. “They always seem to treat me well and surprise me out of nowhere for things. Which says a lot about my gullibility and naivety, but it’s an amazing, amazing family I have at work and we all love each other so much,” Lindsay said.
According to Holzerland, she estimates the cost of the dog and the training at around $4,500. But according to Lindsay’s wife, Kayla, the joy Mako has already brought to their family is priceless.
“It means a lot because when the pandemic happened, we had just had a baby and then he was still working hours, then he was going to the ER and to school for his teachers,” Kayla Lindsay said. “So I feel like it will be something to help him with all the stress and everything. Dogs have always seemed to be his stress buster.
Holzerland tells WFLA.com that she would like to surprise another healthcare worker next year.
” It’s awesome. I think it’s really rewarding to be able to do something for the community at this point with everything that’s going on,” Holzerland said.