As anyone who has seen 13 Reasons Why knows, the show deals with some serious issues. From teen suicide to sexual abuse to bullying, there are a lot of sensitive subjects packed into 13 one-hour episodes. As a viewer, it can be overwhelming, and as it turns out, it was pretty intense for the actors to deal with on a day-to-day basis, too.
Because the emotional content took such a toll on the actors, the show employed a group of adorable therapy dogs that they could cuddle up with in-between scenes to keep their spirits high. (According to the United States Dog Registry, “Therapy dogs are dogs that are used to bring comfort and joy to those who are ill or under poor conditions. Many people are able to connect with dogs and feel the love that they provide, and this has a therapeutic effect on them.”)
“There was a puppy per hour,” Dylan Minnette, who plays Clay Jensen, told PopSugar. “They really tried to help out. The puppies helped.”
For Katherine Langford, who plays Hannah Baker, this was especially important. She had some of the most intense scenes in the series, and admits that there were emotionally challenging moments during filming. “There’s a scene we do in episode 12 that is physically hard to do, just as a human being,” she told PopSugar in the same interview. “It’s only been after the show and after wrapping that I’ve gone, 'wow, we really did handle some really heavy stuff.' I’m really proud of how we handle it, because as you said, we don’t shy away from them.”
Katherine also reiterated that there was a lot of support for the cast on the set of 13 Reasons Why — and not just in puppy form — thanks in large part to executive producer Selena Gomez. “I don’t think I can emphasize how generous she is and how genuinely she cares," the actress explained of her boss. As for Dylan, he noted that Selena "makes us feel very loved and welcome," which is key for any job, but especially for one as heavy as 13 Reasons Why.
This story originally appeared on Teen Vogue.
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