WINNIPEG, Ontario — When Marie Swanson’s daughter was brutally murdered in 2011, she didn’t know how she would go on. Gina Swanson was only thirty-three-years-old when her father discovered her body bound and stabbed, turning the families world upside down. Yet, thanks to Marie’s English Mastiff, who was a puppy at the time of the murder, she rediscovered a reason to get up in the morning. Today, at five-years-old, Hank still provides a great source of comfort for Marie.
At 282-pounds, the friendly giant has helped the grieving mother to go-on despite the terrible loss. When asked about Hank, Marie reveals that he is her soulmate and that they go everywhere together. She adds, “It doesn’t matter what you say. They’ll sit and listen to you. And they’ll still just look up at you and it’s just fine.” Despite her loss, she finds solace in her best friend who acts like big slobbery pillow and companion.
Today Marie has signed Hank up as therapy dog to interact with seniors, many of which are suffering from dementia. The dog recently graduated from the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program and he has become a big hit at the senior residence that he visits. Hank turns up at the Riverwood Square senior residence once a week to the delight of the residents. When asked about Hank’s work with seniors, Marie acknowledges that, ““I think (Gina) would want me to find some purpose. And she’d be happy with it, because she was a real animal lover too.” Watch the news story below.