Melissa Millet, from Sparta, Ontario, Canada has two very special dogs.
A professional dog trainer for trick shows and film/TV, Melissa owns a whole host of animals, but Lollipop and Jellybean are slightly different from the rest of her animals - they're both deaf.
Melissa adopted Boston Terrier Lollipop as a 12-week-old puppy. While the rest of her litter were bought quickly, Lollipop was overlooked and not wanted because of her deafness, resulting in her being given to a shelter.
"Originally, I wasn't going to keep her. The moment I laid eyes on her I was in love, and I knew I had to keep this beautiful little dog," Melissa said.
Melissa trained Lollipop alongside her other dogs, using visual cues instead verbal ones.
Lollipop holds the record for the fastest 5m on a scooter by a dog and cat (4.37 seconds) with one of Melissa's cats, Sashimi.
Melissa then went on to find Jellybean through a post shared online by Deaf Dog Rescue of America, an organization that prioritizes dogs who are often euthanized due to disability.
"I thought, I have Lollipop and she's so wonderful and overlooked, that I was interested in him."
Overlooked by potential adopters because of his deafness, Jellybean spent his days waiting for that special someone to see him for the amazing dog that he is.
The moment Melissa first laid eyes on Jellybean, she knew without a doubt he was worthy of love and capable of greatness.
However, she knew she'd need to put in the work to train him.
"He was one of the hardest dogs I've had because he had so much energy. I questioned whether or not this was the right decision."
"This dog needed a full time job, a part time job and a job on the weekends - he needed something to do. But I stuck it through - I knew this was the right home for him and I could provide him a life with lots of mental stimulation."
Melissa's perseverance paid off, and after some training and love, Jellybean became one of her most valuable performers who is "beloved by everybody".
And now, the pup that no one wanted is a two-time world record holder who's bagged a spot (along with Lollipop) in Guinness World Records 2022!
As an accomplished performer, he has toured the country and shown the world that there is no reason to discard animals with differences.
"Jellybean is always learning new tricks and enjoys showing them off. He loves the attention (and cuddles) that he gets from performing."
Staying home during the height of the pandemic gave the pair time to work on different skills rather than performing for an audience, but Melissa shares that "he sure was grinning ear to ear during the record attempt when he could feel like a star again."
When Melissa and Jellybean first attempted to push a basketball, Melissa assumed it would take time, but was pleasantly surprised when he caught on almost instantly.
Jellybean went on to break two record titles:
- Fastest 5m pushing a basketball by a dog (10.31 seconds)
- Most bounce passes of a basketball between a human and dog in 30 seconds (21, achieved with Melissa)
"He's truly that underdog to wonderdog story. He's become the Brad Pitt of dogs!"
As an ambassador for Deaf Dog Rescue of America, Jellybean encourages others not to overlook deaf or disabled dogs.
"There is an assumption that deaf dogs can’t be trained, or do not make good pets. To have a Guinness World Records title to show off his incredible talents is such a valuable accolade to showcase the incredible potential that these dogs have!"
Melissa recommends checking your local shelter or rescue for new animal family members.
"You never know, perhaps one of them will take you on a journey that leads to Guinness World Records!"