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Great Dane protects owner from boyfriend’s brutal attack

Hank’s courage won him two national awards and inspired Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City, to make room for not only him, but future pets at their shelter.
Congratulations to “Hank” for winning the fifth annual Dogs of Valor and People’s Hero awards from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The Great Dane from Kansas City (called “Hank” to keep his and his owner’s identities safe) earned the awards for helping shield his owner from her boyfriend who was attacking her with a hammer…by laying on top of her and absorbing the blows himself. Although Hank’s hip and several ribs were broken, he provided enough of a distraction to allow his owner to escape the brutal attack. (see the local news story here)

“It’s difficult to imagine the amount of courage it must have taken for a dog to deliberately put himself in such a horrifying scenario,” said Anne Sterling, midwest regional director for The HSUS. “Hank did it without hesitation though, demonstrating once again the undeniable intelligence and compassionate nature present in animals.”

After both were treated, Hank and his owner were reunited at Rose Brooks Center - Hank’s owner refused to stay at the center without her “angel”. Rose Brooks Center has since broken ground on new construction for an animal-friendly facility to house people seeking refuge with their animals. Since pets are often targeted as a way to inflict emotional injury, victims of domestic violence can be reluctant to leave an abusive household if they have to leave a pet behind.

“Rose Brooks believes in family,” said Sarah North, spokesperson for Rose Brooks Center. “Our work every day is to keep families safe and help them rebuild their lives.  And pets are part of that family too. We’ve simply redefined what ‘family’ means to us.”

The animal shelter, which will be completed in May, will be only the second free-standing domestic violence pet shelter in the country. Rose Brooks is still raising the funds to cover the $140,000 animal-friendly addition.