From Rescue Failure to Therapy Dog

Story of a rescue dog who over comes behavioral problems to become a certified Therapy dog who gives comfort to many.

Hudson, a Terrier-mix, was rescued from a Jersey City shelter. He was just skin and bones and his time at the shelter was almost up. Hudson was a very sick little guy having spent his short life scrounging for food on the street. The time spent in the shelter also gave him a mean case of Kennel Cough. Castle of Dreams Animal Rescue looked into his frightened eyes and knew this little pup deserved a chance at life.

He landed in the home of Evelyn Cote, a Castle of Dreams volunteer, who spent many hours caring for Hudson and nursing him back to health. His recovery was slow but each day he made progress. When he was well enough, Hudson’s photo went up on the Castle of Dreams adoption page in hopes that a good family would be willing to give him a good home. That family was the Bradford’s of Union Beach, NJ. They saw Hudson on the website and immediately filled out an application.  

Hudson was still on the mend and not yet ready to leave Evelyn’s home, but the family couldn’t wait to meet him. John Bradford and his family came to visit Hudson and fell in love. They bonded quickly with the little Terrier and were positive he was the dog for which they had been searching. Yes, they would wait until he was well enough to be adopted. Evelyn assured them their application was approved and as soon as he recovered, she would call them. Under her excellent care, little Hudson recovered and was soon well enough to go to his new home.

The Bradford family took sweet, little Hudson home and soon all hell broke loose. Hudson was great with the family, played with the kids and had the run of the house. He had good food, plenty of cuddles and regularly patrolled the yard he had staked as his territory.  Hudson grew so protective of his family he developed the bad habit of nipping anyone who dared cross the threshold.  The family was at their wits end. Why did Hudson have such a problem with visitors? Where had he developed such an extreme distrust of people when he was so loving with family?

A decision had to be made to keep Hudson and be in constant turmoil with his bad behavior or return him to rescue. The family was in agony at the thought of giving up their beloved pet, but were coming to believe they would have no option.  As a last resort the decided to take him to Dog Obedience at Petsmart in Holmdel.

When John Bradford explained how Hudson had been nipping anyone who came near the house, the first thing the trainer asked was, “Do you walk him?”

“Walk him?” John responded. “He has a big back yard to run in. He gets plenty of exercise.”

The trainer explained that a daily walk would go a long way in calming Hudson down and giving him the social skills necessary to become a good dog. Skeptical at first, the Bradfords were ready to try anything.  John took over the daily walks with Hudson and they were soon clocking miles all over the neighborhood. Hudson continued to go to puppy training to refine his behavior issues and teach him a few tricks. His demeanor changed so much that John had an idea. Wouldn’t Hudson make a great therapy dog?   

Within a few months Hudson Bradford graduated as a full-fledged Therapy Dog! He went from nippy and territorial to loving and friendly. He visited the ill and spread comfort to the infirm. When Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey Shore, John Bradford wanted to do something to help his neighbors. He tucked Hudson into his “Therapy” harness and off they went to the shelter in Union Beach lend comfort to the families who had been hit so hard.

Hudson moved carefully between the rows of people, pausing to let them stroke his fur, rub his ears, or give a hug. He licked the hands of those who lost their homes, curled up on a laps of those with tears to be dried and licked away their fears. Hudson brought a few moments of joy and comfort to those who had lost everything.  He was hugged and cuddled and gave his unconditional love in return. 

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Laura Watson February 12, 2013 at 03:53 PM
What a great article! I personally have the pleasure to call John Bradford "My Friend" and Hudson my "Furfriend"! Way to go Hudson... Love you! Laura Watson, Toms River, NJ


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