UPDATE 7:40 p.m. ET: 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.
Our original story appears below.
This picture of a very large dog being wheeled toward an LAX boarding desk deserves to be named 2015’s best nature photograph.
According to Twitter user @madeleinedoux, the fat airplane dog flew first class on an American Airlines flight last night.
As of this writing, the original tweet of the dog has been retweeted nearly 3,500 times.
There is no single “greatest element” of this photo. The dog’s seeming indifference, the huddled employees surrounding him to take a picture and the majestic wheeled bed all blend together to make one of the most compelling images of all time.
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.
As is evidenced in the only known photograph of the dog, onlookers were amazed by both its size and its luxurious cart.
“Everyone, both while boarding the plane and on the plane before takeoff, was speculating as to how the dog got so fat,” @madeleinedoux said. “You could legitimately hear hushed whispers of ‘He’s riding first class.'”
The full story of how fat airplane dog came to be is a fascinating mystery, and we will continue diligently investigating the story until more answers are found.