Despite his fierce unwillingness, our family dog participated in an hour of stretching and bonding.
I don't know about you, but I never consider the idea that my dog might need to stretch.
Between multiple naps a day and using only necessary movements to get to food, Bear isn't what I would call "active," as we all know. My parents' dog — so technically, also mine —Max, is a little more physical, with his days consisting of trying to escape out of the front door whenever he can to chase the nearest squirrel.
So, when I heard about dog yoga (which I obviously had to go to), I figured Max might get a little more out of it than Bear. I'm very glad I made this decision beforehand, because Max, who is a long-haired Jack Russell Terrier, was the largest dog there. Also, there was a lot of lifting involved that I don't think Bear or I could have managed.
At first, Max was curious, sniffing the four other dogs that joined us on the lawns of Love Whole Foods Friday afternoon. But sitting still turned out to be his biggest obstacle.
Becky Messerly, co-owner of the Dogi Yoga, turned on a song titled "Healing Sanctuary," that was rumored to calm the pups into doing the poses. Max's ears perked up for a second, but he was quickly distracted by the other Max, a black little fluffy dog with an underbite who's breed I forgot to get.
Eventually Max (mine) tried to bite Max, so I had to hold him in what I call "Straightjacket Pose." It's great for keeping your small dog humbled and subdued. I highly recommend it.
After he calmed, — thanks to Becky's "Heart to Heart" pose, where you put one hand on your heart and another on your dog's —we got into some serious stretching. We did the "Star," the "Mountain," and my personal favorite, "The Wheelbarrow," where you literally hold you dog by his hind legs like a wheelbarrow. Max hated it, and I wanted to take a picture.
I have to give him credit though, he didn't attempt as much escaping as I thought he would. About 10 minutes into class, he even laid down on the mat like he was supposed to.
The other dogs were fun to watch, especially Cinnamon, the feisty pup of Dogi Yoga co-owner Shelee Smith. Described by her owner as a "little pistol," Cinnamon seemed calm and serene until Shelee attempted a Wheelbarrow. That's when the slight attacking began, but Shelee's used to it and still sees this class as one of their few moments in the day to bond.
"She's getting older," Shelee said of her 12-year-old pup. "I want her to move through her older years as well as I move through mine."
I thought about that when it came to Max (though I don't think anyone in the family knows how old he really is), and put a little more effort into what Becky was describing as a dog massage. Max was receptive and eventually stopped trying to pull away.
By the end of the class, we might have even grown a little closer.