A deaf Canadian dog has reached the semi-finals of the World’s Most Amazing Dog competition, an interactive Facebook Watch show where dogs compete for a US $100,000 prize.
The adorable pooch, named Jelly Bean, is a three-year-old Australian cattle dog who lives in London, Ontario. Jelly Bean can perform some impressive tricks -he can catch and pass a ball with his front paws and jump on a stranger’s back. His handler, Melissa Mellitt, guides him and he follows her instructions by sight, since he can't hear.
“He is so highly intelligent,” Mellitt told CTV London. “He has no idea that he’s deaf. He doesn’t care. He’s just as happy as any other dog.”
Mellitt adopted Jelly Bean from the Deaf Dog Rescue of America when he was just five months old. He has since gone on to travel across Canada as a professional stunt dog and works with Mellitt as an assistant to help rehabilitate fearful dogs.
“We knew that he had this potential,” she said. “This is exactly what I knew he was going to be.”
Mellitt hopes that Jelly Bean’s performance in the competition will help break some of the stigmas surrounding deaf dogs, who are often believed to be ill-tempered and incapable of being trained. According to Mellitt, breeders euthanize many deaf puppies at birth, but she is convinced that Jelly Bean’s inability to hear is his “cool factor.”
Deaf Dog Rescue of America considers deaf dogs to be “specially-abled”, as per its website. They are not disabled or slow to learn as many people might think. Deaf dogs are quick to respond to their people. They are incredibly social and eager to please. Since they have less distraction due to their lack of hearing, they pay special attention to facial expressions, body language, and hand signals. Deaf dogs are amazing companions, and are capable of doing everything that a hearing dog can do, and more.
If Jelly Bean wins the competition, Mellitt said that she plans to give half of the winnings to the Deaf Dog Rescue of America. Viewers of the World’s Most Amazing Dogs competition get to vote on who should move to the finals.
“I think he could go all the way,” Mellitt said.
Good luck Jelly Bean!