Maimed and Nailed to a Railroad Track, Abandoned Puppy Becomes Star Therapy Dog

(INSIDE EDITION) For all of his mental and physical scars, this little gray pit bull could have been as mean as a junk yard dog.

But Hudson, as his adopted dad would later call him, was a guileless puppy - a little damaged, but mostly full of goodness.

Which was somewhat of a miracle given he and his two siblings had been nailed to railroad ties as 3-week-olds and abandoned in Albany, N.Y.

The tiny dogs were found by train workers and became instant celebrities as stories appeared asking how anyone could be so cruel to helpless puppies.

One of the pups didn't make it. Another lost its toes. Hudson lost a foot and came to be adopted by youth counselor Richard Nash, who turned the handsome dog into a therapy dog now known around the country.

But first, Hudson had to go to a finishing school of sorts - attending obedience and good manners training - which stressed learning the commands of "sit" and "stay" and to leave alone things on the floor.

"If someone drops a pill on the floor in a hospital and he eats, it could kill him," Nash told Wednesday, citing a hazard of the dog therapy occupation.

Hudson goes to hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, adult day care, and schools for all ages. "With the abuse that happened to him, you would think that he wouldn't like people, but he just loves everybody. He just loved everbody he met," said Nash, 43, who has two other dogs and eight cats that he parents with his wife.

Last year, Nash and Hudson walked the red carpet in Los Angeles, with Nash in a tux and Hudson on a leash.

The 65-pound dog was honored by the American Humane Association at its annual Hero Dog Awards.

Thanks to a plastic prosthetic leg that allows him to walk and run with barely a hitch, Hudson was able to strut his canine stuff with dignity and flair. Footage from Plastics Make it Possible show just how much the new limb changed his life.

His life with Nash was hard-earned. After he was rescued from the railroad tracks, hundreds of people deluged the local animal shelter wanting to adopt him and his surviving sibling.

The shelter decided the best way to choose their new parents was to hold an essay contest.

Nash wrote a letter saying he already had a pit bull mix, that he and his wife could give Hudson a good and loving life and that they'd take him to canine surgeons and medical appointments.

Eventually, Hudson came to live with the Nashes.

It was slow going at first. "He would have nightmares. He would be whimpering, shaking. I would have to wake him up and let him know he was safe," Nash said.

"It was such terrible abuse he went through."