Yoga mats and puppy paws

Misfit Mutts partners with Gather for yoga with furry friends

By Rachel Sankey

Alexis Gotter is currently fostering Axel, an American Staffordshire Terrier. He is one of many dogs to be rescued by Misfit Mutts and is looking for his forever home. Rachel Sankey Photo

Adho Mukha Svanasana, better known as Downward Dog, is a full-body yoga pose meant to strengthen the upper body – a great starting pose for yoga beginners, because it doesn’t involve any equipment and can be done most anywhere.

Jyll Everman, owner and executive chef of Gather on Broadway, partnered up with Misfit Mutts, a nonprofit, volunteer and foster run dog rescue, to add a new element to yoga poses like Downward Dog – puppies.

Everman said a former Gather employee who had said that she did yoga with goats sparked the idea.

“We looked it up, and that’s where it all spawned from,” Everman said. “We wondered if we could do a puppy event. We have a cement floor… It wouldn’t be a problem if puppies were puppies.”

This isn’t the first time Gather has partnered with Misfit Mutts to bring yoga with puppies to the Green Bay community. The partnership, Everman said, has been going on for the last few years.

Alexis Gotter said she has been fostering pups through Misfit Mutts since they opened in December 2018, and has since fostered more than 30 dogs.

“It’s been great, obviously, to get our name out there,” Gotter said. “The dogs get noticed, and they’re all available for adoption. The proceeds from the event help us with the vetting, purchasing supplies for fosters – basically everything that goes into getting the dogs, from here to being adopted.”

Most of the rescues at Misfit Mutts come from This Is Houston, a shelter in Texas, or by local surrender. Gotter said they partner with Texas mainly due to the state’s high stray dog population.

Both Everman and Gotter said the community response to the yoga with puppies events has been nothing but positive, and that it’s garnered a lot of interest in the dogs and the Misfit Mutts organization.

“I know there’s a lot of inquiries,” Everman said. “I remember people leaving and taking business cards like, ‘Yeah, I need to know about that dog.’”

Gotter echoed Everman’s excitement. “Personally, I’ve talked to quite a few people that hear about the rescue, what we do, the dogs that are available for adoption and the kind of dogs that they’re looking for,” she said. “A lot of people are interested in how they can get involved and help. Not everybody can adopt or foster, but there are plenty of ways to help.”

Twenty percent of ticket sales from each event goes directly to Misfit Mutts.

In addition to having five to eight dogs running around while Sarah Schleis Weyenberg from Shiny Happy Yoga leads the session, Everman will offer after-class healthy snacks.

“As a chef, nothing is complete if you don’t have food,” Everman said. “I usually make some sort of healthy street tacos. I’m not a dainty person when it comes to appetizers… I want to make sure everybody gets a lot to eat. We have to put the food a little higher because the puppies will try and get into it.”

Though the upcoming event on April 5 has already sold out, Gotter said that there are still ways to contribute to Misfit Mutt’s cause.

“We definitely want to do more of these,” Everman said. “It’s a win-win. It’s an easy setup, (Misfit Mutts) brings the dogs, they have volunteers who come to help wrangle them. It’s just a really cohesive relationship that we’ve built together. I feel that we can do these more often, now that things are kind of up and rolling (since COVID-19).”

To grab one of 50 spots for the next yoga with puppies event, be sure to follow both Gather on Broadway and Misfit Mutts on Facebook.

Rachel Sankey is the Arts and Entertainment Reporter of Green Bay City Pages. She cane be reached via email at [email protected]

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