Shannon and Alyssa Kelly mingle with a pup during a dog
yoga event on Curry Ford Road on June 16, 2018 in
— All Katie Donzanti and the yoga class at her Curry Ford
Road studio wanted to do was downward dog. Instead, they got a
face full of dog slobber and ear nibbles.
Peacock Orlando, a 3-month-old yoga studio, brought in eight
rambunctious young pups to mix and mingle with a yoga class
result was a sometimes chaotic — often adorable — morning
that had even the most serious yoga student in the class
cracking a wide smile.
is the kind of stuff that keeps my heart beating," said
Donzanti, 37, a former marketing director at Harley Davidson.
"Anything that allows us to give back."
for Pups, an awareness event meant to showcase the adoptable
puppies, is the first in what Donzanti hopes is a frequent
effort for her studio.
wants to partner with rescue organizations and feature other
animals that need rescuing, she said.
been a dream of mine to open a yoga studio and contribute to
this community," Donzanti said.
say that nearly 16 million people in the U.S. alone practice
recent years, that growth has spurred the creation of new,
unorthodox types of yoga, including yoga among goats, using
hula hoops and with dogs trotting around.
just something else to look at," said Orlando resident
Matt Spurlock, who attended the class. "Anything they can
do to bring more enjoyment is a good thing. When you get an
occasional sniff and kiss, you enjoy it even more."
Fredrick had the perhaps unenviable task of keeping the class
moving along as the puppies did what they could to disrupt
sometimes meant puppies running through the legs of someone in
the class. Other times, well, it meant the class’s leaders
having to clean up after a puppy accident.
adding foreign elements to a class helps grow yoga’s
kind of addition makes yoga more accessible," she said.
"It could invite people to yoga that may not necessarily
have given it a chance otherwise."
hour-long session drew between 35 and 40 people, a typical
turnout for a special event at the studio.
benefits are not only to the people who get to play with the
dogs at a dog yoga event, said Judy Sarullo, who has run Pet
Rescue by Judy in Sanford for 29 years.
gets the dogs socialization skills, too," she said.
session had its light moments.
two of the puppies seemed to enjoy climbing on the students’
backs. One had to be given a time out because he was a little
bit too jazzed up.
one of the core messages of the event was serious.
a dog "is like having a newborn," said Tracy Cooksey,
an Orlando-based dog trainer at the event. "If you’re
going to get a puppy, you better make sure you are set up. You
need to understand that you won’t get much sleep at