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In October 2022, Martina and Bruce finally found the buyer they sought and were able to sell the pool and retire. The new buyer is Julie Riley, whose background is in accounting and working with special needs children.

Julie grew up in Pasadena Texas, the largest suburb of Houston, and famous as the setting for the John Travolta movie: Urban Cowboy and the home of the original Gilley’s, the world’s largest honky tonk until its demise in 1989. She attended the University of Houston, studying accounting, then moved to Dallas to be closer to her sister and her family. There she married and divorced while working for Heritage Galleries for 14 years. Working for Heritage was a great opportunity to grow with the company from its early years as a numismatic company to the largest collectibles auctioneer and third largest auction house in the world.

When Julie’s son was diagnosed with autism, another chapter opened in her life. She left Heritage and dedicated herself to helping her son gain the tools he needed to function in a neurotypical world.


She was supported in this effort by her family, Mitch’s wonderful school, and her new partner, Mike. We are happy to say that Mitch now drives, has a job, and lives on his own in Texas. There is no cure – no “magic pill” for autism, but as Julie wished so many years ago when she started this process, Mitch now has the coping tools he needs to function in a neurotypical world.

In 2013, Julie’s partner, Mike, began working in Alaska. Mitch was still too young and doing too well with his teachers and therapists in Texas to make a permanent move possible, but both Mike and Julie fell in love with Alaska and dreamed of a time when they could relocate to “The Last Frontier.” That opportunity came in 2020, just as covid hit. Julie continued to travel back and forth as restrictions permitted, but struggled to find a new career path, especially with all the changes covid brought to working life. Mike had long described Alaska as “every day is Bring Your Dog To Work Day,” and the number of dogs at his workplace truly is impressive! One of his co-workers swims his dog at Alaska K9 Aquatics and told Mike, “Hey Mike, the dog pool is for sale. You ought to buy it!” Mike approached Julie about it, and she was immediately enthusiastic!

Although Julie has no formal background in dogs, she and Mike have long loved the dogs in their lives and the lives of their friends and families. Since taking the reins, Julie has seen a lot of overlap between working with dogs and working with small children: Be consistent. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Mark good behavior and try to ignore bad unless you can catch it right in the act. Don’t belabor the point. Neither dogs nor children have good memories! Practice the good behaviors! Do not reward or overreact to bad behavior. That just makes bad behavior attractive! Be aware of subtle behavior changes BEFORE they become a problem! And most important, HAVE FUN!

Julie is learning every day from the great manager that Martina hired 10 years ago. Heather Priest is the resident trainer/manager and absolutely Julie’s “right hand (wo)man!”  And after three months of blissful retirement, Martina missed the dogs so much that she returned as Trainer Emeritus! Martina’s expertise is unmatched, and having her as a continuing resource for the business is a valuable asset! In addition to Heather and Martina, we are pleased to have the services of Bailee Fehres and Naomi Lowe. Both are talented “trainers in training” and bring youthful enthusiasm to the pool.

Martina built an excellent business, and it is Julie’s desire to continue in that tradition. We hope that the small changes that inevitably come with a change in ownership are too small to remark and that you, our customers, continue to enjoy having a recreational pool dedicated to your dog’s enjoyment for many years to come.

Behind K9 Aquatics






with your Veterinarian is recommended for any health related matters.

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