St. Petersburg dog kennel surprises healthcare worker with puppy

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)- Back in May, WFLA.com, told you about a St. Petersburg dog kennel that wanted to give a Belgian Malinois puppy to someone working the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dee Dee Hancock, a registered nurse at Advent Health in Tampa submitted a video nomination of her coworker, clinical exercise physiologist Shane Lindsay.

“I’ve worked with Shane and I knew his background and he told me how his dream was to someday have a Belgian Malinois. So, I thought how perfect is this,” said Hancock. “So, we made a little video, my son put the video together and we nominated him. You couldn’t find a better person more deserving. He’s a hard worker.”

The Belgian Malinois puppy was bred and trained by Brianna Holzerland with Holzerland Protection Dogs. Holzerland told WFLA.com back in May, they wanted to choose a candidate who had experience with the breed.

When Holzerland learned that Lindsay was a former Marine in the K9 Unit…she knew she found her winner.

“Shane was the perfect fit. Once we saw the video that his coworker Dee Dee sent in, he was perfect. He worked with them (Belgian Malinois) overseas. He had the experience,” said Holzerland.

On Friday, the staff at Advent Health, along with Lindsay’s family, surprised him on his lunch break with his new companion, Mako.

“Oh my god, I have the most amazing work family,” said Lindsay. “They always seem to treat me well and surprise me out of nowhere for things. Which says a lot about me being gullible and naive to things but they’re an incredible, incredible family I have at work and we all love each other so much,” said Lindsay.

According to Holzerland, she estimates the cost of the dog and training to be around a $4,500 value. But according to Lindsay’s wife, Kayla, the amount of joy Mako has already brought their family, is priceless.

“It means a lot because when the pandemic happened, we just had a baby and then he was still working the hours and then go into the ER and school for his masters,” said Kayla Lindsay. “So, I feel like this will be something to kind of help him with all the stress and everything. Dogs have always seemed to be his stress reliever.”

Holzerland tells WFLA.com, she would like to surprise another health care worker next year.

“It’s awesome. I think it’s really rewarding to be able to just do something for the community at this point with everything that’s going on,” said Holzerland.  

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