Hank the Tank Is a Therapy Dog That Comforts Seniors

Posted by Amber King
All photos via CTV News

Weighing in at 282 pounds, Hank is a big therapy dog that provides massive amounts of comfort.

For a 280-pound English Mastiff named Hank, helping people cope with heartache and dementia is all in a day's work. Hank belongs to Marie Swanson, and when Swanson's daughter was murdered five years ago, Hank was her unfailing source of strength. Swanson is grateful, saying:

" He was my main reason for getting out of bed in the mornings."

Fittingly nicknamed "Hank the Tank," Hank stood by Swanson's side during the murder investigation and trial as an unfaltering support system.

The Mastiff was the crux Swanson needed to make it through that extremely difficult time in her life, and it soon occurred to her that if Hank could be that source of comfort for her, he could also help others.


Hank was enrolled in the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program and graduated as a certified therapy dog. He now uses his big, compassionate eyes and calm demeanor to bring comfort and strength to the seniors at the Riverwood Square retirement community.

Many of Hank's friends at Riverwood are living with dementia. Dementia is a chronic mental disorder that affects memory, personality,  and reasoning, but interacting with Hank on a weekly is something they all look forward to.

Heather Malazdrewicz of the Riverwood Square retirement community explains that Hank reminds his senior friends of their childhoods, and that's a valuable kind of comfort.

Hank the Tank accepts the adoration and appreciation from his friends at the retirement community while also doling out his own form of mental medicine.

Therapy dogs are found in schools, hospitals, and retirement centers all across the country, and it has long since been proven that dogs have a special power when it comes to overall mental and emotional well-being.

Hank the Tank may look like a massive beast, but he's 280 pounds of pure love and affection. Swanson is proud of the work he does and says that her daughter, whose tragic death started it all, would be happy to see that Hank has become such a valuable part of so many people's lives.

All photos via CTV News

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Hank the Tank Is a Therapy Dog That Comforts Seniors