The Hansons’ toddler girls have nothing to fear when playing outside on the front lawn—at all times, dad Spencer Hanson knows, any number of watchful K9 eyes are trained on her every move, keeping her safe.
Maverick is the pack leader, the dominant alpha male. The German shepherd has an even keel but also the vigor to enforce the rules when necessary. Maverick’s stoic calm energy sets the tone for the pack, who all have his back.
“His ability to shape a pack and their temperament is incredible,” Mr. Hanson told The Epoch Times.
The 7-year-old Great Dane Bellatrix is the spunky, intelligent girl who was “definitely needed” in the predominantly male pack of 5 dogs. “She claims her respect,” the dad said. She loves carrying in the groceries and sometimes a beer to her owner.
Another Great Dane, 5-year-old Severus is the most docile, the group’s gentle giant who knows his size—especially around kids or small animals. “Severus enjoys his role as a guardian to our kids and spends a lot of time watching them play on the trampoline or swing set,” Mr. Hanson said.
Then there is Chaos the Menace, a 1-year-old shepherd, who brings “wild energy” to the pack and was “born for protection work,” Mr. Hanson said. “He quickly became Maverick’s shadow, copying all his behaviors.”
Those include: guarding the perimeter of the family’s Nashville house or gently herding in the babies who’d strayed too far from home.
And lastly, 1-year-old Draco the XL bully is the youngest. “Draco came into the pack later by chance, but when he came, it felt like he had been here his whole life,” Mr. Hanson said. “He loves our children immensely. Guarding came pretty naturally to him.”
Dad says the pack’s theme is “Harry Potter,” as seen in the naming of the Great Danes and XL bully.
“We do have plans to add to the pack in the future,” he said. “The pack all has individual jobs and a pack dynamic to make them work together.”
In fact, says Dad, who has served in the military, most of these dogs were trained to find and protect children while also confronting kidnappers. That training involved both individual and pack activities in real-life kidnapping scenarios.
Now, though, their main job is watching over the Hansons’ four young kids—besides their two young daughters, ages 3 and 4, they also have two slightly older boys, ages 9 and 10.
Dad also recalls an instance when Maverick protected their son from an attacking dog that scaled their fence and got into their yard. “Maverick quickly cut him off, grounding him until he was called off, and our son was safely back in the house,” Mr. Hanson said.
“When I see my pack protecting my kids, I am always grateful for a dog’s love and loyalty,” he said. “I am reminded how much a dog thrives when given a job and a purpose.
“These dogs are our family.”
Although they have received many positive comments, there were plenty of negative words, too. “Understandably, not everyone agrees with what we do,” Mr. Hanson said.
However, he wants people to know that, while they are fierce protectors, “they also love being part of the family.” Besides being trained to protect, “they love going on adventures, swimming, hikes, and often accompany us on vacations. They live a very balanced happy lifestyle.”