GET ACTIVE: Downward puppy brings added fun to yoga practice

Downward dog is beneficial but downward puppy is downright adorable.

The benefits of yoga are extensive from increased flexibility and strength to decreased stress and fatigue. Add in a puppy or two or six and the happiness grows exponentially. Fun and fitness blend seamlessly in Paw Patrol’s Puppy Yoga practice.

“There is some level of physical activity, but some people just go to love on the puppies,” said Brandi Knox, Paw Patrol director. “It’s so much fun.”

Paw Patrol hosts puppy and kitten yoga events to support the organization’s mission, “to rescue and re-home neglected, abused or otherwise unwanted pets into loving homes.” The fully volunteer-run, foster-based cat and dog rescue adopts out approximately 250 animals a year — all breeds and all ages. From puppy mills to overpopulation to rehoming, the need has never been greater for fosters and animal adoptions according to Knox.

“It is truly unprecedented, the number of animals in need right now,” she said. “It’s a mix of animals adopted during the COVID pandemic that people can’t care for now to the economy and people struggling financially, there are so many animals. It’s the worst anyone in animal rescuing has seen.”

Events like puppy yoga raise awareness as well as offer an enjoyable afternoon of yoga and puppy love.

Benefits for two-legged yogis

The National Institutes of Health has partnered with the Mars Corporation’s WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition to research the physical and mental benefits of human-animal interactions.

Research has shown that interacting with animals can decrease levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone, and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost overall mood.

Studies are ongoing regarding animal interactions with kids who have autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as previous research has shown a variety of benefits for children with those conditions.

Beyond the science, there are the smiles that are impossible to miss when a puppy scrambles through your legs or leaps onto your lap.

Benefits for four-legged yogis

Humans aren’t the only ones benefitting from the practice.

According to the American Kennel Club, socialization is an important benefit for the puppies. Interactions like puppy yoga can help the furry little yogis become more comfortable and confident around people. There can also be improvements in trainability and overall behavior.

“It’s great to get them socialized, having different people pick them up and handle them,” Knox said. “It’s good for us to see how the puppy relates to different people so we can determine what a good home for them would be.”

Paw Patrol Dayton – Puppy Yoga

What: Beginner-friendly 45-minute yoga class complete with puppies to play with and cuddle. Wear comfortable clothes and bring your own yoga mat or towel.

When: 2-3 p.m. Sunday, April 7

Where: Pet Butler, 741 Congress Park Drive, Centerville

More info: To register for this or future events, visit Paw Patrol Dayton on Facebook (

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