The yoga class Cynthia Ackerman was leading Friday wasn’t your normal session.
While the poses were typical, this class was filled with puppies constantly trying to cuddle, kiss and play with participants.
The result was an unforgettable and equally relaxing experience.
The Sept. 10 Puppy Yoga session was the second of its kind sponsored by Old Dominion Humane Society at its facility in Fredericksburg. The hourlong session allowed participants to interact with puppies while being led through various yoga poses by a professional instructor.
The seven participants held poses while the eight pups ran around and played, even interrupting at times. The session was filled with barking and giggling. Adults and children alike partook in the fun.
“I love teaching it because it’s so fun,” said Ackerman, a certified Karuna yoga instructor. “There’s the variable with the puppies that you never know what to expect.”
While the objective of Puppy Yoga is to showcase puppies that are available for adoption, it is also a fun way to forge friendships, said Marie Stokes, a volunteer for the ODHS who helped with Puppy Yoga.
“If nothing else, it’s for the community. It gets people together,” Stokes said. “Not everything has to be about getting people in the door. Sometimes it’s just fun to do yoga with puppies; like where else are you going to do that?”
Located at 3602 Lafayette Blvd. in Fredericksburg, the Old Dominion Humane Society has dozens of dogs available for adoption. It holds adoption events most Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and those interested are urged to apply online at olddominionhumanesociety.org.
The nonprofit gets no government support, relying on donations for support. In addition to Puppy Yoga, the ODHS puts on other events to raise funds and showcase its dogs. There are movie nights and bingo that people can choose to participate in, all aiming to create various relaxing and fun ways to engage the community and provide exposure to the animals.
“Some of those things are really more fundraisers, but they allow people to hang out with the puppies,” Stokes said. “You end up with these really family-friendly ways you can have everyone involved.”
The proceeds from this event, like others hosted by the ODHS, go toward the care needed for all of the dogs. This includes everything from food and veterinary costs to maintenance of the facility.
“So even if none of the dogs tonight get adopted, we’ve raised money to buy vaccines or food,” Ackerman said after Friday’s event. “All the money goes straight to the organization.”