Yoga with a little puppy love

Published On February 26, 2019 | By su kuštrić | Life


Participants are playing with puppies and exercising during the yoga class, Puppy Love Yoga, in Toronto, on Feb.24, 2019. (Su Kustric)

Su Kustric

Puppy love tangles with the downward dog at a Toronto area yoga studio that introduced puppies to yoga classes.

Puppy Love Yoga Studio offers weekly classes with eight-week-old puppies, that today were brought in by a therapy dog trainer. The classes help the little ones socialize before they move to their forever homes.

“Yoga with puppies has a great mental effect on people, everyone walks out from the classes smiling, so this is kind of pet therapy at the same time, which is great,” said Chad Barkley, owner of this studio.

Each class has between six and ten puppies mingling with about 25 people, he said.

“This is kind of win-win situation where we try to socialize puppies and at the same time raise people’s moods, which is a feel-good business,” Barkley said.

Participants say one of the hardest parts of the class is leaving.

Valerie Reynis, participant, playing with puppy during the yoga class, Puppy Love Yoga, in Toronto, on Feb.24, 2019. (Su Kustric)

“I cried for the first five minutes because I was so unbelievably happy to have these little beings looking at me and being around me, the feeling is exhilarating,” said Valerie Reynis, one of the participants.

“It evokes a true joy,” she said.

Rayna Morrison, volunteer service and therapy dog trainer with Puppy Love Dog Canada, said the puppies do many things for humans.

They lower the heart rate, lowers the testosterone level, increases endorphins and they allow people to relax on a different level than what they’re used to, she said.

“It opens up the personal empathy and allows people to reach out, touch something that has no verbal communication and connect with the puppies through body language and eye contact, rather than having a conversation,” Morrison said.

Rayna Morrison, service and therapy dogs trainer and volunteer from the Puppy love dog’s company after a yoga class, Puppy Love Yoga, in Toronto, on Feb. 24, 2019. (Su Kustric)

Morrison volunteers to supervise the puppies and to ensure everyone gets some puppy-
lovin’ during the hour class.

Puppy Love Canada breeds and trains dogs specifically to work for people with depression, anxiety, PTSD, autism support, mobility and medical support, along with a host of other modalities and circumstances.

“We offer a multidimensional application for the puppies, they are smart, connected to people and they relax whenever you ask them to,” she said.

Puppies that will not move on to a ‘working career’ as a Service or Therapy dog, are available for adoption for a nominal fee of $1,000. These adopted baby puppies have a fantastic training foundation that is unlike that which most puppies or adult dogs receive. The adoption fee helps to fund the training and care of the puppies destined to be Service and Therapy dogs.

Trained Service and Therapy dogs are only for people with special circumstances and verified issues. However well trained and socialized puppies are available to everyone from Puppy Love Canada.

“We know our dogs so intimately well, so I can tell based on your personality, which one of the dogs is going to match best with you,” said Morrison.

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