July 15, 2010

Poses for Paws—Confessions of a Professional Dog Snuggler

It’s not easy being a Professional Dog Snuggler.

The training is excruciatingly intense.  You have to be able to endure 10 no-stopping-to-breath minutes of puppy kisses.  A full half hour of a dog sleeping directly on your head.  Ten puppy faces looking up at you as you eat your dinner without sharing a single bite, and finally—yes—the dog gas room.  Can you survive under the covers after the dog has passed gas for a full minute without dying.

Like I said, being a Professional Dog Snuggler (PDS) is not for everyone—but I’m proud to carry the title.  So proud in fact that I decided—why stop there?  Which is what led me to co-found Poses for Paws.

Poses for Paws was the fuzzy brainstorm of myself and fellow animal lover and yoga teacher, Jesse Schein.  We wanted a way to repay the love that animals bring into our lives and give a voice and support system to the less fortunate.  The idea of being a huge organization intimidated us, but we knew we wanted to do something so we set off on our path, pockets full of intention and milkbones.


Be inspired.  Be passionate.  Be aware.  Be active.

Start here.  If you have a passion—acknowledge it.  Then once you know what your focus is—see where it needs the most aid.  Start your research for organizations or charities that are out there making the change a reality.  Gather as much information as you can and connect with them.  Once you have this resource, it’s time to decide on what you have to offer.

I’m a yoga instructor, so my gift is fairly obvious.  Poses for Paws leads yoga events to benefit different animal shelters and organizations.  Perhaps you’re especially skilled at organization.  You can rally your favorite yoga instructors together to hold an event to benefit your cause.  Not into yoga?  You can take a percentage of your income for a week to set aside to send in for donations encouraging (or creating a bet or challenge with your colleges) others to do the same.  Lead by example.

Tight on money?  Donate your time.  So many animal shelters are run on donations and people’s willingness to show up.  Go help walk the dogs or change the animal’s water.  Not only will this help, you’ll be able to connect directly with the spirit of the charity and work individually with the animals.

Basically, every bit counts—so don’t ever say you don’t know how or you can’t make a difference.  We are all graced in our lives with such bounty that it is a shame to not share it with those in need.  Expand your karma, find our passion and step up.  Your heart and the continued beating of millions others will thank you.


Join Poses for Paws on July 18th, 2010 at Yogaglo in Santa Monica to benefit Sammy’s Place—a Senior Dog Sanctuary.  Sammy’s Place is a home where hard to place dogs can come and stay and older dogs can live out their last days happily.

The teacher line-up includes Kathryn Budig, Alexandria Crow, Tamal Dodge, Ally Hamilton, Jesse Schein and Mia Togo.  Enjoy a full flow class followed by refreshments, a raffle and a goodie bag for everyone who attends.

Yogaglo 4:30pm

1800 Berkeley St.

Santa Monica



I’ve been working with the amazing ToeSox company for the last year in modeling their product (yes, modeling ONLY in their product) to promote in Yoga Journal.  This amazing company gave me the opportunity to not only design my own sock (hot pink!) but to have a portion of the proceeds go through Poses for Paws towards the current charity we’re supporting.  Socks to save little paws!

*second image by Robert Sturman

*last image by Jasper Johal

*first image by my iPhone

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