Music teacher Chris Hannah and his Pitbull Cole the Deaf Dog are teaching acceptance as a Therapy Animal team in New Jersey.
In this 13th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I’m joined by Chris Hannah, a music teacher in New Jersey, and his incredible deaf Pitbull, Cole. Together, they focuse on teaching acceptance and promoting inclusion in their community through therapy animal work with Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs and the Cole the Deaf Dog and Friends Foundation.
Chris shares the story of adopting Cole, a deaf dog, and how his students’ curiosity led to the introduction of therapy dog work. Cole’s deafness offers unique advantages, allowing him to be more focused during therapy sessions. They work together not only at Chris’ school but also volunteer at hospices and veteran homes.
Throughout our conversation, Chris emphasizes the importance of teaching tolerance, empathy, and acceptance. Cole’s breed and disability make him an inspiring figure for others, showing that everyone has something valuable to offer. His big heart and human-like qualities have a profound impact on the students and people they work with.
We also discuss the importance of the bond between the handler and the therapy dog, which is crucial for success in various situations and environments. Chris encourages others to volunteer with their therapy dogs, using the human aspect of the interaction to create a meaningful impact.
Despite facing challenges and opposition due to Cole’s breed, Chris and Cole continue to make a difference in their community, turning adversity into educational lessons. By the end of this episode, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the power of therapy dog teams and the role they play in promoting inclusion and acceptance.
In this episode, we discuss …
- The unique advantages of Cole’s deafness and his impact as a therapy dog.
- How they teach acceptance while overcoming challenges related to his breed and disability.
- The importance of the bond between a handler and their therapy dog.
Key moments you won’t want to miss:
- [01:15] Chris shares his experience as an elementary school music teacher and how Cole, his deaf therapy dog, works with students at the school.
- [02:15] Chris tells the story of adopting Cole and how students’ curiosity led them to start doing therapy dog work together.
- [03:45] The positive impact Cole has on students and staff, and how Chris and Cole volunteer at places like hospices and veteran homes.
- [05:09] Chris talks about the importance of teaching tolerance, empathy, and acceptance, and how Cole helps spread these values.
- [06:13] Cole loves meeting new people, and Chris explains the benefits of Cole being deaf in their therapy dog work.
- [07:39] Chris describes how Cole’s kind heart and human-like qualities inspire students to make positive changes in their lives.
- [08:17] Chris discusses the value of therapy dog work in different settings and his hope for more schools to adopt the practice.
- [09:17] The importance of the bond between handler and therapy dog, and Chris’s encouragement for more people to get involved.
- [10:20] Chris urges others to volunteer with their therapy dogs, using the human connection to create a meaningful impact.
- [10:44] Cole’s journey as a therapy dog, overcoming challenges related to his breed and being a special needs dog, and how they turn adversity into educational lessons.
I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I do. Give it a watch or a listen and then let me know in the community which part you found the most helpful!
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