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Hero Pets

Hudson the Therapy Dog is Changing the Future for Disabled Pets

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Chris Weeks/Getty

Hudson the Railroad Puppy had a hard start to his life.

When he was just a few weeks old, Hudson was found nailed down by his leg to railroad tracks, missing a paw. Veterinarians weren’t sure if the baby dog would make it, but he fought until he recovered. Moved by the little pup’s journey, Richard Nash applied to adopt the dog and was chosen to take Hudson home.

Wanting his new best friend to have the best life, Nash reached out to animal orthoist Derrick Campana of Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Virginia, for help. Working with Hudson, Campana started to create a prosthetic paw for the dog that would meet all of the animal’s need.

Because of Hudson’s earlier injuries, he need a prosthetic that could replace his missing paw and bear enough weight not to negatively affect his other back leg. After several prototypes, Campana found the perfect fit, and has been crafting new paws for Hudson as he grows ever since.

Among those prosthetics is a special “formal occasion” paw, decked out in the American flag, which Hudson wore to the Hero Dog Awards in 2015 to accept his award for Hero Therapy Dog of the year.

After noticing how loving Hudson was with people, even after how cruelly the pup was treated early in life, Nash worked to have the pit bull certified as a therapy dog. Hudson passed the tests, no problem and now donates a good chunk of his free time to visiting hospitals and elderly care facilities to spread smiles. During his trips, Hudson is able to teach his fans, especially children, that differences on the outside don’t make you any different on the inside.

He is also teaching pet owners the possibilities that plastic prosthetics offer. With help from Plastics Make it Possible, Nash and Campana are sharing Hudson’s story and showing how plastic prosthetics can change a pet’s life.

Campana, who has crafted prosthetics for a zoo full of animals, hopes that Hudson’s life will encourage other pet owners to look into prosthetics as an affordable option for caring for their disabled pet. Not only are plastic prosthetics inexpensive compared to other more invasive treatments and surgeries, these tools help animals live full lives where they can run, jump and play just like any four-legged pet.

To help Hudson help others, Plastics Make it Possible is donating $20,000 to the Humane Society of the United States’s Animal Rescue Team, so the group can outfit other rescued pets with prosthetics to help them with their new start.