Big Mastiff Flying First Class Is Seizure-Detection Dog for Rescue Founder

Hank big mastiff flying first class

“Holy shit I just saw the literal fattest dog,” Madeline Sweet tweeted Monday from an American Airlines boarding gate at LAX, with a photo of the big Mastiff that’s gone viral.

“It wasn’t until I boarded, I could hear whispers of ‘Oh my God, the dog is in first class,'” Sweet told NBC Los Angeles.

Most airlines don’t allow dogs that can’t fit into small carriers to fly inside the cabin, let alone in the front row of first class. The dogs must fly in the cargo area, which can be dangerous.

As it turns out, the Mastiff wasn’t getting any special treatment. Hank, who’s 3 years old and weighs 160 pounds, is a seizure-detection dog for his dog mom, Kari Whitman.

big dog Hank and Kari Whitman

Hank was riding on the dolly because he’s recovering from recent surgery and cannot walk, Whitman told NBC Los Angeles.

And about all those fat jokes: The average weight for a male English Mastiff is 150 to 230 pounds, according to the American Kennel Club — so Hank is actually at the low end of that scale.

Whitman, an interior designer from Los Angeles, happens to be the founder of Ace of Hearts Dog Rescue, which has saved thousands of dogs from high-kill L.A. shelters on the day they were scheduled to be euthanized. In fact, Hank was one of those rescued dogs.

She also created Greener Pup eco-friendly dog beds. All proceeds from the sale of these beds go to Ace of Hearts.

Whitman told NBC Los Angeles she and Hank always fly first class. You can follow their adventures on her Instagram, @hanktheworldtraveler.

To make a donation to Ace of Hearts Dog Rescue, click here.

Photos via Twitter; Instagram

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!