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Pit Bull Cole Named Dog of the Year

Cole The Deaf Dog of Vineland was named Dog of the Year 2023 by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). He and the honorees in other categories will be feted at the annual ASPCA Humane Awards luncheon on October 12 in New York City, hosted by WNBC news anchor Chuck Scarborough.

Each year, the ASPCA honors incredible animal and human heroes who reflect the ASPCA’s dedication to animal welfare and honor the cherished role animals play in our lives. This year’s event will once again share inspiring stories of commitment, hope and compassion for both animals and people.

Cole, a pit bull, was adopted as a puppy from South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter in 2017 by Chris Hannah, a Vineland Public Schools music teacher. He had been passed over by many other families, but Hannah recognized just how special the pup was and knew that he and his new furry friend were going to work incredibly hard to bring joy and love to so many in Cumberland County.

“Cole can’t hear with his ears, but he can hear with his heart,” Hannah told CBS News Philadelphia. “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.”

As a certified therapy dog, Cole has worked alongside Hannah for six years at Dr. William Mennies School, teaching kids to embrace their differences and develop courage and self-respect. His presence inspires acts of kindness throughout the community.

Cole is also a hospice therapy volunteer and the official mascot of the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home. During weekly visits, Cole helps aging veterans find new strength and enthusiasm for life. Through Cole the Deaf Dog & Friends Foundation, Hannah and Cole spend their summers visiting and supporting special education summer programs and care facilities across the tri-state area.

The Team Cole project has been featured on the Rachael Ray Show, Good Morning America, Access Hollywood, and other national broadcasts. They have been recognized many times and have appeared on other television shows on all the Philadelphia networks. Cole was a CW Television Network Dog of the Year.

Cole is the first canine to win the Philadelphia Phillies All-Star Teacher award. Cole is certified through Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc.

The other award winners are:

• ASPCA Farm Animal Welfare Award: Senator Cory Booker.

• ASPCA Henry Bergh Award: Dr. Terry Morris.

• ASPCA Equine Welfare Award: Saddle Up and Read.

• ASPCA Public Service Award: Officer Jorge Aquino and Mann.

Cooper Foundation Gala Raises Nearly $4 Million

Nearly a thousand guests attended this year’s recent Cooper Foundation’s 13th Annual Red Hot Gala event, which was dedicated to Bernard and Shirlee Brown, on behalf of their children and presenting sponsors Sidney and Sandy Brown, Jeff and Tracy Brown, Anne E. Koons and the family businesses, NFI and Vineland Construction Co. of Vineland.

The nonprofit foundation set a new fundraising record by raising nearly $4 million for its gala, according to an announcement from George E. Norcross III, chairman of the board of trustees of Cooper University Health Care and MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, and Philip A. Norcross, chairman of the Cooper Foundation board.

“The Brown and Koons families have been committed and loyal supporters of Cooper and the Cooper Foundation for many years. We honor the generosity of their parents, Bernard and Shirlee, who instilled a strong sense of philanthropy in their children,” Philip Norcross said.

”As Cooper rounds out its 136th year, we look to the future with an unprecedented $2 billion Camden campus expansion that will transform Cooper and the community,” George Norcross III said. “We are also focused on bringing Cooper’s trademark clinical innovation and expertise to more communities in South Jersey and beyond, including a new high-tech ambulatory complex opening soon in Moorestown and a historic merger with Cape Regional Health System.”

“Due to the generosity of so many individuals, the Cooper Red Hot Gala has raised nearly $25 million since its inception. We are incredibly honored by the community’s unwavering support for Cooper University Health Care and The Cooper Foundation,” Kevin O’Dowd, co-CEO of Cooper, said.

“Knowing that we have the backing of so many supporters, our teams are inspired to do great things,” Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli, co-CEO of Cooper, said.

Trip to Longwood Gardens

The Rutgers Master Gardeners of Cumberland County invite you to join a bus trip on Monday, December 4 to Longwood Gardens, located near Kennett Square, PA and well-known for its holiday floral displays. The day will include a guided tour of garden highlights and time to explore the gardens and conservatory on your own. Departure time is 9:15 a.m. and return time is 4 p.m. Cost is $60. Lunch can be purchased at the onsite cafe.

Please call 609-805-5206 to register and receive additional details about the trip. Checks should be made payable to “County of Cumberland” and mailed to Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cumberland County, 291 Morton Avenue, Millville, NJ 08332-9772 by November 3.