Hank the Tank might look like just another big dog, but for many people, he’s a lot more than that.
The 280 lb English Mastiff was adopted by Winnipeg resident Marie Swanson when he was just a puppy, which is the same time the woman’s life was tragically turned upside down. Swanson’s 33-year-old daughter was murdered five years ago, paralyzing her mother with grief and despair. But through the funeral, the investigation and the trial that followed, Hank stood loyally by her side.
“He was my main reason for getting out of bed in the mornings,” she said.
Moved by the animal’s unconditional affection, Swanson later enrolled him in the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program, which the pup just graduated from. Now, Hank is providing his emotional support to all kinds of people. Once a week, for example, Swanson accompanies him to Riverwood Square’s retirement community, where he gets pet, pampered and poses for pictures with the tenants who live there.
“I really did miss you,” one woman says in the video above.
“See, you’re getting your picture taken, aren’t you?” another says.
For Swanson, she’s just happy to see Hank spreading his signature charm to those who need it most. In fact, you could almost say that’s become her new purpose in life.
“I didn’t know he’d be such a big hit,” Swanson said. “I think [my daughter] would want me to find some purpose. And she’d be happy with it, because she was a real animal lover too.”
To see Hank in action, check out the video above.