Hudson, lovingly known as the Handsome Therapy Dog, is a seven-year-old golden retriever and border collie mix. Every other Friday, Hudson visits the library so students and staff can interact with him during both lunch periods.
Hudson’s owner and handler, Megan DeSantis (she/her), said she got Hudson into therapy work because he needed an outlet for his energy and his intelligence.
“He’s so smart that just exercising him physically wasn’t doing enough. He was getting four to five miles a day, every day, for the first several years of his life,” said Desantis. It just wasn’t enough. So he needed to have mental stimulation. He needed a job.”
DeSantis volunteered at Marysville High School several years ago and saw how stressed students were. She mentioned that upon petting Hudson, one of the students started crying because she was so stressed; petting Hudson allowed her to relieve that stress. DeSantis has a child who went through Northshore School District, so she reached out to NSD schools in 2019. Soon after, Hudson started visiting Inglemoor.
DeSantis mentioned that therapy work has been especially beneficial for Hudson because it teaches him to control himself in certain environments. Through his work, he is given an opportunity to use his energy by supporting others.
“He has to remain calm and chill. He can’t follow what he wants to do. He wants to get up, and smell everything and walk around, and he can’t. So he has to tell himself, ‘You know you can’t do this.’ It’s like going to school or going to work. You have to sit and do your job,” said DeSantis.
Junior Elvira Goforth (they/them) said that they value spending time with Hudson. If they’re at school when Hudson is, they’ll go visit, sometimes for the entire lunch period. Goforth said remembering that Hudson is visiting is encouraging, especially when they’re tired and want to go home.
“It’s just so nice to have that moment in the day when you can come to the library and relax, pet a dog for 15 minutes, and then go eat lunch. I think it helps so much with anxiety, which I suffer from,” said Goforth. “It makes me feel very happy, makes me feel relieved and just comforted as well.”
DeSantis also said that Hudson’s therapy work has allowed their relationship to grow. Hudson follows her around, wanting to be near her at all times. Even when going on walks, Hudson will look back and check to make sure she’s okay.
“When he’s with us as a normal family dog, he’s just so much more pleasant to be around. Hudson and I have gotten so much closer. We’ve bonded, and we continue to bond with every event we go through. It’s just crazy,” said Desantis.
Hudson has also made new friendships with the people he sees at work. Librarian Teresa McCausland (she/her) said her favorite part of Hudson’s visits is when he first arrives in the library and greets her.
“I feel like he’s kind of looking for me, and I’m looking for him. He and I will make eye contact, and he’ll go, ‘Ahhwooooh!’ and I love that. He does it almost every time,” said McCausland.
McCausland announces Hudson’s visits on the Inglemoor library Instagram (@inglemoorlibrary) and also puts up a sign on the entry door of the library letting people know he’s there. McCausland said that the number of Hudson’s visitors can fluctuate, and his favorite visits are when lots of people come to see him.
“Some days we’ll have quite a crowd circling around and students sort of waiting for their turn to get close to him. Other lunches, there’s one [student] or he’s just kind of looking around at people wondering why they haven’t come to visit,” said McCausland. “I know that Hudson really likes it when he has a crowd. That’s his favorite time.”
Unfortunately, when asked to comment, Hudson declined and instead simply gestured for some pats.