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South Jersey-based dog named "Dog of the Year" by the ASPCA

ASPCA declares South Jersey dog its National Dog of the Year
ASPCA declares South Jersey dog its National Dog of the Year 01:52

VINELAND, N.J. (CBS) -- The ASPCA announced a South Jersey-based dog as its national "Dog of the Year." 

Cole the Deaf Dog is a Pitbull mix therapy dog who works at Dr. William Mennies School in Vineland.

"Cole can't hear with his ears, but he can hear with his heart," Chris Hannah, a music teacher and Cole's owner, said. "It's such an honor for a dog that was born with a disability and is now a full-time school therapy dog, amongst so many other jobs. It's just a dream come true; it really is."

Hannah communicates with Cole through Sign Language, and he uses Cole's deafness to teach children the importance of accepting people who may be different.

Cole the Deaf Dog also provides a calming presence to students.

"Just 45 minutes ago, we were doing a school assembly, and the loud noises were really bothering a little girl and she came over, and she was crying," Hannah said. "Cole got off the spot he was sitting on and went and just laid across her lap." 

Hannah adopted Cole nearly seven years ago, and Cole now has two sisters whom Hannah is training to be therapy dogs.

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