Believe it or not, the family pet is often used as a threat for women who try to get out of relationships.

7 out of 10 women are unable to get out of abusive relationships because the abuser actually threatens harm against the family pet. How sick is that? This is great story of a Great Dane. His name is Hank, aka J.Matthew. Her owner was violently attacked and Hank stepped in and saved her life. Not only did she get pushed through a wall, she was also getting beat with a hammer. Hank got in front of the abuser once he realized what was happening to the woman.

Here’s what the woman said about the horrific incident:

“When my Great Dane, J. Matthew [Hank], heard me scream, he laid on top of me. I tried to get him out of the way, but he received the first of many blows from my abuser.”

The man then threw Hank out a second story window after having beaten the dog badly. Hank suffered a broken hip, ribs, and other broken bones. The attacker had then pulled a gun and threatened to shoot the woman if she ran to her dog or even if she “touched him.” The woman didn’t want to risk taking the chance as he could end up just shooting the both of them had she tried. Instead she fled to her car and went to the police. They went to the home and arrested him, while rescuing Hank. The woman then went to an emergency shelter to stay. She had Hank with her, and the 110-pounder was normally not allowed in, as the policy was strictly no animals allowed. They made an exception. The woman simply refused to leave her beloved and heroic Hank.

CEO of the Rose Brooks Center said the following about making that exception:

“I’m so glad we did. It was just inspiring to see how she was able to heal better with her pet here.”

It was the first animal ever allowed there, and quite a big animal at that! Due to Hank, the center built an entire pet-friendly wing to allow those with pets to not have to face the choice of abandoning them in exchange for shelter. Realizing the healing power of pets was a big factor, and they understood the importance of getting rid of the common situation of abusers threatening the family pet, and victims staying in the abusive relationship because of it.

Hank was awarded the Valor Dog of the Year and the People’s Hero Award! He not only acted heroically, he actually brought upon a long-standing policy change that would prove to make a huge impact on preventing pet threats from future domestic abuse cases.

Watch this amazing video and celebrate Hank and all the unconditional, and sometimes heroic, love that animals give to us on a daily basis!