NORFOLK, Va. — The Old Dominion University football program is gaining an adorable new friend, and helping veterans while they're at it.
He's sleepy, tumbly, and covered in soft fur. His jersey number is "1/2."
That program sources "puppy raisers" to train dogs for two years, and then gives them to veterans with service-connected disabilities (and law enforcement officers and first responders who have line-of-duty disabilities).
After saying no "about 422 times," ODU head football coach Ricky Rahne gave in to his wife when she started the adoption process.
"Hudson was chosen from among a litter of eight dogs last month, and Ricky left it to his players to pick which pooch they liked," wrote Harry Minium with the football program. "Jen was there and said the players absolutely melted when they saw the puppies running down the hallway."
Hudson is potentially going to get the best socialization of them all. He'll visit the team in weight rooms, trot out into the stadium on game days, and visit sailors and officers with his trainer, Brooke Corson.
She's the founder of Mutts with a Mission, and a friend of the Rahnes.
He'll be going to weekly classes with her, and doing lots of homework, too, to make sure he's a good fit for a veteran one day.
While it's a less serious mission, he's doing some training for the team, too.
They're trying to teach him how to run out after kickoffs and fetch the kicking tee from the field.
"Seeing Hudson is a great little moment to maybe bring back some humanity into things when maybe you haven't had that practice that you wanted," Rahne told Minium. "Or you had a great practice and all of a sudden having a puppy in your hands brings a little humility to you."
You can follow Hudson's Twitter account here. We know we certainly will.