Meet Hawk: Brave Barkers

We've got some very exciting news to share about a new dog named Hawk who is participating in the Brave Barkers program!

Hawk is the second dog to be sponsored by Brave Barkers. Brave Barkers is a non-profit that funds surgeries and medical care for dogs with severe joint or mobility issues.

For the past few years, we’ve been setting aside a portion of all sales of Big Barker beds in order to create a 501c3 non-profit foundation that funds the surgeries and medical care of dogs with severe joint or mobility issues.

So that means, if you’ve bought a Big Barker bed for your own dog, then you’ve helped pay for Hawk's medical care!  And for the medical care of many more dogs to follow 🤗


Hawk is a 5-year old Dutch Shepherd who works in the Delaware Prison System. He's been trained to both patrol and detect narcotics, but at his current facility he primarily does one thing: Searching for drugs! Hawk was trained at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.

In late fall 2021, Hawk came up lame on his right hind leg. He was prescribed pain meds and rest but that did not work so he went to see a specialist in January 2022 who gave him estimates for nearly $14K worth of diagnostics including an MRI as well as diagnostics and arthroscopic intervention.

He also had over $1,000 worth of workups that day which included sedated X-rays which showed a potential torn PCL (the opposite ACL). Often these cases need treatment however they don't always require major surgery.

Hawk sometimes has a hard time going to the vet, and gets nervous, but that doesn't take away from the amazing dog he is and incredible job he does.

His human partner has been working with Hawk for 18 months--and this pup knows how important their jobs are; even though sometimes it can be a tough challenge. 

Hawk's human companion is not only an excellent partner, but also a best friend. They live together and have the perfect partnership as they work side by side every day while juggling all of Hawk’s veterinary needs with ease!

The department was leaning on retiring him, because $14,000 is outside their means. The handlers reached out to Dr. Otto of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center who recommended an arthroscopy and one time joint injection with Dr. Brunke at Veterinary Surgical Center

Hawk has been working with a light duty since the injury in late fall. During his exam, Dr. Brunke found that his PLC is considered normal. He doesn't have any major issues other than a VERY SLIGHT tear of his ACL and moderate synovitis (swelling and thickening of the joint capsule). They submitted fluid from his joint for lab testing to rule out infection and other causes.

Hawk is going to have his knee re-injected again 3 weeks from now with platelet rich plasma and synthetic joint fluid.

Click to watch Dr. Matt Brunke explain Hawk's diagnosis: 

Currently, Dr. Brunke does not anticipate Hawk needing major knee surgery and thinks there's a good chance that Hawk will be able to return back into work with his recommended treatment!

VSCR estimates that the treatment will cost $3,000. Rehab therapy is being offered, and then Dr. Brunke will evaluate Hawk's response to it.

Join us by following along Hawk's journey and checking back as we post updates on his health and recovery!