Backstory Of The Big Dog Being Carted Around An Airport

Filed Under: American, Media

A picture has gone viral this week after Twitter user @madeleinedoux Tweeted the following:

This was followed up by Tweets about how the dog was flying first class. As it turns out, there’s actually a cute backstory to this, which made me smile. Via Mashable:

In an interview through direct messages, @madeleinedoux told Mashable that the dog boarded the plane last and sat in the front row of first class with his owner, who’d seemingly purchased two tickets. The dog spent most of the flight lying on the ground near its seat, and didn’t bark or make noise for the duration of the trip.

So why was the dog so big, and why was it being carted around? Apparently due to an illness the dog can only move with the aid of a cart, which explains his weight:

Mashable has learned that the dog’s name is Hank and he belongs to Kari Whitman, an interior designer who founded Ace of Hearts Dog Rescue in Beverly Hills, California. Hank is Whitman’s support animal and, due to an illness, can only move with the aid of a cart, which explains his weight. We hope Hank enjoys many more relaxing flights in first class.

While there’s no denying that in general people take advantage of how easy it is to register a pet as an “emotional support animal,” I find this story to be adorable.

  1. Sorry but there’s nothing adorable about this story. Yes it’s sad that the poor dog can’t walk on his own, but people should not be flying with their pets that are of this size. We live in such a narcissistic society that we don’t care how our wants (not needs) affects other people.

  2. @Luis, it sounds like your own wants (of not having dogs around) might affect others too. It says in the story that the dog didn’t do anything but lay down the entire flight. How, exactly, does this affect other people? The owner paid for an extra ticket for her animal. How does this affect you, exactly? And you’re claiming OTHER people are the narcissist when you sound like the biggest narcissist of them all. “I don’t like dogs therefore I hate this story and this is awful.” All about YOU, I see…

  3. @Reine, that paid F ticket meant there was one less seat available for elites to get upgraded! Insanely selfish!

  4. @Reine – Nice try. I’m a huge dog lover and have a dog myself that I love more than most humans. But I also realize that not everyone in the world is a dog lover and wants to be around other people’s dogs when they fly, so I choose not to fly with my dog, ever. Even if the dog was well behaved, there are people that are uncomfortable being around dogs for various reasons.

  5. I actually think this shouldn’t even be a story and allowable.
    #1. If it’s an emotional support animal she doesn’t even have to buy it a seat, but she did to not put anyone else out.
    #2. She paid for the first class ticket and you’re complaining that she shouldn’t because you could miss an free upgrade? If she has the money, she could by every seat in first class and force you to look at an empty section the whole trip… Money talks, not status.
    #3. The dog was better behaved than 80% of the people I fly with. Did it cry the whole trip, scream the whole trip, defecate and urinate in a diaper the whole time and then have a parent who thinks it’s ok to change it on the tray table? Nope, it didn’t put anyone out at all.

    While I do question how a paralyzed dog can be much of a support animal, IMO, if you pay for a seat, you should be able to put a human, animal, or stuffed animal in it as long as you want. No dog or cat ever brought down a plane to kill innocent lives. No harm was done.

  6. This is one of the countless reasons the rest of the world laughs at america. Why was an animal in the cabin to start with?!

  7. Love this story.

    @Luis, your comments about not all passengers liking dogs meaning you shouldn’t bring a dog aboard doesn’t make sense to me. Plenty of people don’t like infants, small children, obese people, etc. on planes. So should none of those be allowed to fly?

    If a dog is well behaved, I can’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be allowed, especially if it’s a service or support dog. And *especially* if the owner went to the great length of buying an extra seat just to have more space for the dog.

  8. Why has no one commented on the animal abuse here?!
    of course I don’t know the whole story, but it just really bothers me when I see grossly obese animals like this. Majority of cases it’s the owner over feeding the animal making it sicker.
    I also shake my head at these rules that allow people to register dogs as ’emotional support’. Like people aren’t going to take advantage of the system. LOL
    I pity the poor person with an allergy having to sit next to the animal. But I guess as long as the owner feels emotionally supported, that’s all that matters..

  9. Half of the people on Malibu Road, and other places in the area (read: Beverly Hills, Calabases, Hidden Hills crowd) have “fake” doctors notes turning their pets into “support” dogs and other BS.

  10. Guys, I think we have a more important question at hand here.

    I think the better question would be whether the owner signed the dog up for AAdvantage and is earning bonus EQPs 😉

  11. While it’s inevitable for the dog to get overweight as it’s lost its mobility, I hardly think that would cause obesity at that level. It’s blatantly obviously being overfed – if it’s not moving it doesn’t need as much food as it used to eat.

    Saying that, you could argue it’s the humane thing to do. If it can’t move anyway then why not make it a bit happier. I definitely wouldn’t call seeing such a ridiculously unhealthy dog “adorable” though – unless you hate dogs!

  12. previous commenter: she paid for the f’ing seat so how could you possibly say that’s one less upgrade available?!?! I have platinum status and would never even think about being upset that I wasn’t upgraded because someone paid for their service animal to sit in first class. stop acting so d*mn entitled…brat. also it’s not as easy as you think to get your dog registered as a service animal and on an airplane…”To be accompanied in the cabin of an aircraft by your ESA at no charge, airline companies require that you have a properly written letter from a licensed therapist, counselor, or in some cases, physician, which states that you are emotionally disabled and require an ESA as part of your treatment.”

  13. furthermore I am happy to see that the majority of the people were sticking up for the owner and the dog here. well I do agree that alone your dog to become obese through negligence is dog abuse I don’t think that was the case here I feel like there is more than just the dog losing mobility. if this person loves their dog enough to roll his fat a$$ through an airport (I don’t even want to do that with a 30lb suitcase) and pay for a first class seat I highly doubt she neglected him and allowed him to get obese. I have panic attacks when I’m in situations with crowds and/or small spaces or other situations so I have my dog registered as a service animal. he’s not the most well behaved dog on a plane but can calm me down from a panic attack quicker than anyone or anything and I prefer not to take drugs for that.

  14. Jordan,


    For the others:

    My special note came from my banker at City National. He said I needed an emotional support German Shepherd as I carry around bags of cash when I fly. My Sheppie gives me required emotional support when someone tries to take “samples” from one of my bags. Usually, the sampler does not come back for seconds.

    I can always rely on City National to keep moving me the way UP! That Crystal Infinite Visa that City National offers me sure offers many perks that I never even knew about!

    Now, it’s time to have Gelson’s in CALABASAS deliver some dinner for me and my Sheppie!


  15. a post with the word SLUT is approved, but mine (with special character msasking the bad words) isnt?!?!

  16. “This is one of the countless reasons the rest of the world laughs at america. Why was an animal in the cabin to start with?!”

    Oh really? Seems to me the rest of the world allows their canine friends into a lot more public places than we Americans – like trains, cafes, restaurants, metros, markets and more. The world is laughing at a woman who chooses to travel with her dog? I think not.

  17. @disgusted Neglect doesn’t have to have anything to do with love. You see the exact same thing in humans – parents who obviously love their children to bits yet allow them to get morbidly obese.

  18. you are very right but my point still stands in that it’s not someone over feeding their dog it’s a medical issue

  19. @Luis – not everybody wants to fly with babies (who are usually much more annoying than dogs) either… should we not be allowed to buy them tickets either?

  20. these people actually brought the dog into Nobu LA tonight. They sat in the bar and embraced all the attention from the inquisitive patrons. it’s all about feeding the egos of the owners. the owners of this dog should be held accountable for this abuse. They control how much it eats. There is no way that any loved pet should look like Hank. it was sad to see such a beautiful animal fighting just to take a step.

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