The Instagram Scroll That Changed His Life

man and a Labrador sitting on a bench, with the man embracing the dogFrom viral dance videos to how-to tutorials, social media has a plethora of entertaining content. James, who is hard-of-hearing, was scrolling through Instagram one day to try to meet others who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
His search initially led him to Lauren, a Canine Companions graduate and her hearing dog, Elroy. After looking through their posts, he realized how life-changing a Canine Companions hearing dog would be to him—and decided to apply.  
When James matched with his hearing dog, Hopper, he knew he was turning a page to a new chapter in his life. After gradually losing his hearing starting in high school, and eventually getting a cochlear implant. 
With Hopper by his side, however, James lives every day with enhanced independence; Hopper alerts him to his surroundings. He alerts him to doorbells, door knocks, alarms, and even to people calling his name, plus provides him with specific body movements to indicate warnings. “He has brought a lot of joy and confidence to my life. It’s especially wonderful knowing I can go out in public and won’t have to worry nearly as much as I used to,” James shares.
As a nature enthusiast and former Boy Scout, James enjoys going on more hiking and camping adventures—with more confidence—as Hopper is right alongside him, enjoying the scenery.