FOREST GROVE, ore. -- A local dog trainer created “PuppYoga” to help socialize her medical alert service dogs in training.
“The laughing, it's so fun and contagious,” said Kristin Tarnowski, carrying an armload of French bulldog puppies.
Tarnowski hosts PuppYoga at her home studio in Forest Grove. She brought in yoga instructor MaryBeth Stuver to teach the class.
“Everybody needs to laugh, everybody needs to cuddle,” said Stuver. “The puppies make it fun!”
During class, five Frenchie puppies tumble over each other and onto the mats, as up to nine yoga students stretch and pose. Sometimes the dogs lick students’ faces.
“You can't be around a group of puppies and not laugh and think it's the best time,” said Tarnowski.
Tarnowski breeds and trains medical alert service dogs. Her latest litter of Frenchies will grow up to be diabetic alert dogs.
“Until they're about 20 weeks old, we want to get them exposed to as many people and environmental changes and all of that as possible,” said Tarnowski.
While the dogs sniff, lick, and otherwise socialize, Stuver said something magical happens.
“You're trying to let go of your day, not think about your grocery list or whatever. And these puppies take all of that away,” said Stuver. “You have an hour of just happy bliss.”
For some students, the dogs are a big help.
“This is my first yoga class,” said Chad Heidt. “It's a great ice-breaker to have the puppies around licking at you and giving you something to love on while you're a little nervous for the first class.”
Students never know who or what the puppies will latch on to. For Rachel Jerome, it ended up being her ponytail.
“The longer your hair, the more fun you'll have,” laughed Jerome. “It makes you warm and happy,”
The downward facing dog never felt this real.
PuppYoga offers two classes a week: Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. Classes are $35 dollars each. Tarnowski said the money goes towards the dog’s training.