New Puppy’s Energy Boosts Family’s Youthful Feelings

Recent grad takes on pet’s training

This story was written by PetSmart Charities Roving Reporter Bart Butler. 

Cassie Juran graduated earlier this year from the University of Florida with a degree in aerospace and biomedical engineering.

Since Cassie had moved back home while searching for her first job, she agreed to help find the perfect puppy to be a companion for Sitka, her parents’ 8-year-old German shorthaired pointer. The family’s goal was finding a younger dog who would reenergize Sitka.

Cassie met the right puppy unexpectedly while visiting PetSmart® to buy Sitka a new toy. She didn’t realize it was PetSmart Charities™ National Adoption Weekend.

Inside, she almost instantly locked eyes with one of the puppies. “Oh my god,” Cassie remembers saying. “She’s perfect for us!” 

Cassie named her Kelly.

“My vet’s guess is that she’s a basset hound mixed with a yellow Lab or a Dalmatian,” said Cassie. “She has the long ears of a hound, but she’s not droopy like that. She looks like a Dalmatian with big cow-spots.”

A swimmer with a hairnet

“She loves to swim,” Cassie said. “We let her out in the backyard and she dives right in — no matter if it’s the shallow end or the deep end.”

Even though she’s a super swimmer, Kelly’s big ears make her prone to ear infections. “So now, whenever she goes in the pool,” said Cassie, “she has to wear something like a ‘lunch-lady hairnet’ that pulls her ears back. It looks a bit silly, but it helps the water dry faster.”

A puppy who loves people and other animals

“Kelly loves people,” said Cassie, “Any people. The pool guy comes over, she’s super excited. Visitors come over, she’s super excited.”

She also gets along well with other dogs. “Sitka acts like she is Kelly’s big sister. She mothers her,” said Cassie.

A full daily schedule

Both Kelly and Sitka sleep in Cassie’s bedroom. Their schedule starts first thing in the morning, and provides time for Cassie to work on her job search, too. “Kelly gets me up at the crack of dawn, which I don’t love. But she’s still a puppy, so I understand,” Cassie said.

Every day, the 3 of them go for a long run. “Then the dogs sleep in until about 2 p.m.,” she added. “At that point, the dogs usually want to play — so we play ball or soccer,” Cassie says. “Then they’ll go back to sleep until dinner time.”

They take another walk after dinner, then the dogs go to sleep until 11:30 p.m. “But then, every night, the puppy wants to get up and play, much to the chagrin of the older dog,” Cassie said. “Sitka gives Kelly a look that says ‘go to sleep puppy, I’m tired.’”

Best part is seeing the results of their efforts

After about 4 months of this routine, Cassie can clearly see results, despite basset hounds’ reputation for being a bit stubborn.

When they first got her, Kelly had some issues.

“She definitely had a problem of jumping on people,” said Cassie. “She was just so excited to see them. She also begged at the dinner table. She’s getting a little better at both, now that she’s older.”

“It’s kind of fun seeing Kelly mature while Sitka regains some of her own puppy energy again,” Cassie said.

“We like having Kelly around,” said Cassie. “She makes all of us younger.”

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