This five-year-old vizsla named Stella is a regular at Frolic Dogs, a canine sports club in Alexandria Virginia. She’s so active. And so I see how happy she is when we’re at the gym. And she’s playing and she’s able to, you know, jump through the hoop or go up on the balance beam. And she’s very proud of herself which, of course, then makes me happy. Dog lovers Kim Gilliam and her husband opened the first canine gym in the Washington DC area four years ago. We definitely got some eye rolls and some scratching heads when we told them, you know, folks, we were opening a dog gym.
But once you come in, and you really see how people are working with their dogs, bonding with their dogs, and also getting them that exercise that they so badly need, it really does make sense. This pudgy dog named Ziggy was brought to the Sports Club for the first time to get a workout. It is the new year, so I think everybody’s getting in the gym and you’re just trying to, you know, lose some extra pounds. Like a human sports club, the dog owners can pay a fee each time they come or get a monthly membership. Besides keeping fit, the workout also helps keep the dogs stimulated and reinforces good behavior. I love see him jump around and play with the other dogs here and see what all the other dogs can do, so then we can learn from that. The gym also helped poodle mix Scooter who was found as a stray living on the streets. When I first got him, he spent the first year of agility class hiding under chairs.
He was terrified of everything. We worked with him and he is now a pretty outgoing way. This five-year-old German Shepherd is staying fit after taking part in hundreds of local agility competitions. He takes first place a lot of times quite often. He beats dogs that are well above him in the levels. Gilliam says the pet parents get a workout, too, by running around with their dog. They’re just as tired as their dog when they leave.
Deborah Block VOA News Alexandria, Virginia.