Therapy Dog Brings Smiles to Chattahoochee High School

  • Posted 10/4/2022

    Hudson and Friends2
    Hudson and Friends1
    Hudson and Friends3

     

    The mood at Chattahoochee High School is a little "fluffier" on Fridays---thanks to Hudson, the school's resident therapy dog. Hudson heals hearts weekly with visits to Chattahoochee dubbed "Fluffy Friday."

    "He just is the perfect, lovely personality," said his owner, former Chattahoochee registrar Rita Jensen. "He just loves everybody."

    Chattahoochee Principal Dr. Michael Todd said, "students really connect with Hudson, especially those who otherwise might have a hard time opening up. As Hudson makes his rounds through the hallways and classrooms there is always a group that will stop and smile. It helps them to get out of the monotony of the day."

    Hudson's popularity serves a purpose. September was Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. A Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) article noted "reports of anxiety and depression among school-aged children rose significantly during the pandemic."

    "When students returned to school after remote learning, many of them struggled with social-emotional well-being," Todd said. "Hudson's visits are an opportunity to do something a little different than other schools."

    Jensen agrees. "Spending time with an animal in general makes you happy," she said. "That has been our goal with Hudson, to have him at school to give the kids a smile in their day."

    Hudson benefits from these healing moments, too.

    "It's just a special bond that I think he gives to us, and we give to him," Todd said. "Maybe it's filling his heart just like he's filling ours."