A victim of domestic violence was viciously thrown through a wall by her boyfriend. He then attacked her repeatedly with a hammer.
The reason she is alive today is her Great Dane, who heroically placed himself between the woman and her abuser, taking the abuser's anger and attention off of her.
That Great Dane, named Hank, not only saved his owner. He also saved many more victims of domestic violence because of his loyalty and love.
After telling her boyfriend that she didn't want to have a child with him, the victim "literally went through a wall," she says. Her abuser threw her so hard against the wall that it broke.
"My dog came over and began to smell me. He licked on me, and that is when my abuser kicked him in his hips," the woman explains. After Hank had been kicked, he collapsed onto his owner's body, covering her.
The victim recounts what happened next. "And then, [Hank] turned and went after my abuser, and then laid on top of me. My abuser came over and began to punch him, and when he did not get off of me, he grabbed my dog by the collar. We had a porch that you had to walk upstairs to get on to, and he threw him off of the porch.
"As I was coming around the corner, he [dragged] him from our house a block to a very busy street and let him go, in the middle of the street, while cars were coming. And he said that if I reached for [the dog], or called for him, he would shoot him where he stood," the victim said.
In fear for her dog's life, the woman ran to her car, but her abuser caught her and pointed a gun at her head. She took off in the car anyway, to the nearest police station. The police took the woman to the Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City, Missouri.
There was one catch: the shelter didn't accept pets.
Nearly 7 in 10 women in America report an inability to leave abusive relationships because the abuser threatens to harm the family pet. But the victim wouldn't leave Hank, who had suffered from broken ribs and a hip, behind, so Rose Brooks Center made an exception and let Hank stay.
Hank's story caused the center to review its policies. Rose Brooks Center CEO Susan Miller noted that she was glad they allowed Hank to stay at the shelter, “It was just inspiring to see how [the victim] was able to heal better with her pet here.”
In fact, Hank's actions and impact on the shelter were so inspiring that a pet-friendly wing was added to the Center, complete with kennels, a pet-friendly play area, and a walking trail.
Miller sees this as an opportunity to help more women and children escape from abusive situations because they know they can bring their pet with them. “They provide so much comfort, and to have to leave that pet behind is so heartbreaking,” Miller said. “It has become abundantly clear that the incredible therapeutic benefits that pets can have on a family greatly outweigh the cost and inconvenience of housing them.”
As for Hank, he received recognition for his unwavering loyalty and bold actions. He won the Humane Society's People's Hero award and the Valor Dog of the Year award at the Fifth Annual Dogs of Valor awards. For this brave, loving dog, these are well-deserved honors.
Watch the moving account of the victim and Hank's daring escape and the happy ending that they both earned. Share this story with your family and friends on Facebook.