BYODog to Yoga helps rescue animals

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

Most yoga classes offer a somewhat zen experience with calming music, dim lighting and deep concentration, but a recent class held by Chicago based Rescue in Style
had a very different atmosphere. While holding the downward dog pose, yogis may have looked down to find an actual dog staring back at them.

Rescue in Style partnered with Joriki clothing and ALIVE Rescue to host a BYODog to Yoga class on Dec. 14, inviting yogis to bring their beloved pups along to the studio. As the humans stretched and twisted in an all–levels yoga practice, a group of furry friends ran excitedly around the studio.

BYODog to Yoga class brings pups to the mat. By Taylor Hartz.

As dogs barked and growled over the instructor and zen music, laughter erupted throughout the class as pups popped up all over. Animal lover Dannie Levine attended
the class with Zoe, her Beagle, and Tonks, her Beagle and Boxer mix. Levine adopted Zoe and Tonks, after she started volunteering at Paws in Lincoln Park.

“I love to bring the happiness of dogs and the love of animals to other people,” said Levine, who added that Zoe is an emotional support pet that helps her with anxiety and depression. Another help for anxiety and depression, said Levine, is practicing yoga.

Despite the chaos of the dog filled studio, Levine was able to stay focused and balanced—most of the time. “I mostly practice yoga at home so I’m used to having dogs around,” Levine said. “This is a fun way to bring that out of my home and into a new space.”

The class was held in a studio in Humboldt Park, at 2950 West Chicago Ave. Rescue in Style donated all proceeds from the class, which cost $20 per human and dog duo, to ALIVE Rescue, a no-kill non-profit shelter in Roscoe Village.

The mission at ALIVE Rescue is to save animals from Chicago shelters that have high euthanasia rates and may otherwise not be adopted.

“We follow through on our commitment that every animal deserves a full life by choosing to take in animals that other adoption organizations may overlook, including seniors, unpopular breeds, and pets with special needs,” said the organization, which opened in March 2008.

The rescue mission said events like this are a great way to raise awareness about the
pets awaiting adoption in their shelter. Christine Nendick, founder of Rescue in
Style, has volunteered in shelters around Chicago for years. She lives in the city with
her two adopted cats, Roni and Cheese. Christine founded Rescue in Style as a
way to combine fashion and adoption, and hopes the organization serves as a resource
for anyone hoping to adopt.

All proceeds from the BYODog to Yoga class went directly to the shelter. The partnership with Joriki clothes offered yogis a chance to shop for new athletic gear, with a portion of all proceeds also going to the shelter.

Christine said raising awareness for local shelters is also a main goal when hosting a
class like this. “I’ve partnered with many shelters in Chicago and truly admire all the work
ALIVE Rescue does for the animals in our city,” Nendick said. “I try to raise money
and awareness for rescue organizations across the city in hopes of showcasing all
the amazing work they are doing on behalf of our adoptable friends.”

On top of all the good this class will do for local animals in need, Nendick said she hopes it was also an active, enjoyable experience for yogis and their pups.

“It may not be the most serious yoga class, but I can guarantee it will be the most fun,” she said.

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