Yoga dogs

A NEW statewide challenge is inviting people to increase their strength and flexibility by participating in a yoga session with their best four-legged friend to raise funds for Guide Dogs Tasmania’s training programs.

Doga is the combination of yoga and dogs, with the challenge being set by Guide Dogs Tasmania to complete 30 minutes of Doga a day for the month of August.

Funds raised will assist with the cost of running the Guide Dogs Tasmania training programs, which transform the lives of people living with low vision, disability or illness in the local community.

It takes more than two years and costs more than $50,000 to raise and train a guide or assistance dog.

“Doga is a great opportunity to improve your health as well as improving the bond between you and your dog,” Guide Dogs Tasmania fundraising coordinator Kristy Wright said.

“We are excited to be able to take the lead in this new fundraising initiative to raise much needed funds for Guide Dogs Tasmania.”

Guide Dogs services program manager Kim Ryan said there were a number of benefits of Doga to both the dog and the owner.

“Having your dog participate or close by during a Doga session promotes calmness in both you and the dog, strengthens the bond between a dog and owner, and keeps the dog’s mind active which can help with improving their general behaviours and responsiveness to training,” she said.

Volunteer Laura Thompson and guide dog in training Gilbert signed up to take part in the Doga Challenge.

“Spending time with these amazing dogs and seeing firsthand how important they are to those with visual impairments makes me feel so passionate about helping Guide Dogs Tasmania where I can, to ensure their great work can continue,” Ms Thompson said.

“I’m excited for the Doga Challenge as I find having a goal helps me to stay on track.

“My aim is to improve my splits by the end of the month, although I’m not sure how much yoga I will actually achieve – Gilbert thinks that my exercise time is play time.”

The Doga Challenge is free and can be completed in the comfort of home, with everyone welcome to give it a go – even those who don’t own a dog.

For more information or to register, visit www.dogachallenge.com.au.

Caption: Guide Dog in training Gilbert taking part in some Doga.

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