Prancer as a young puppy attends. The Lab/golden retriever cross attends yoga class with Karen Johnston at Inner Light Yoga Studio in Vernon. She is training Prancer as a service dog for the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society.

Prancer as a young puppy attends. The Lab/golden retriever cross attends yoga class with Karen Johnston at Inner Light Yoga Studio in Vernon. She is training Prancer as a service dog for the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society.

Prancer the pup goes to yoga

The service-dog-in-training goes everywhere with Karen Johnston, even to her Vernon yoga class

Inner Light Yoga and Wellness is supporting the PADS Service Dog Program.

Karen Johnston, a longtime and regular Inner Light Yoga studio client, has joined the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) to begin the training of a service dog. Service dogs provide an extraordinary community service, helping people with disabilities to live a normal life.

This is the first time a PADS puppy has been trained in the Okanagan region.

Karen recently took charge of Prancer, a service puppy in training. Prancer is a yellow Labrador/golden retriever cross born Dec. 17, 2015. He will be with Karen for 12 to 18 months during his puppy training stage. From there he will be passed to a professional service dog trainer for his final training.

During his time with Karen, Prancer has to be introduced to as many real life places, people and situations as possible. This is a demanding, full- time task and Inner Light Yoga and Wellness is helping Karen in this process.

Prancer is being trained for a companion who is confined to a wheelchair with a physical disability.

Whenever possible, Karen continues to attend her normal yoga classes at the studio — only now she brings Prancer with her. He has his own personal yoga mat and sits (or sleeps) beside Karen throughout the class.

Studio owner Lea (Elara) Reardon said so far, Prancer’s behavior has been exemplary.

“Prancer has been made welcome by all yoga students at the studio,” she said. “He greets everyone and then sits quietly during the 75-minute yoga classes that Karen attends.

“Everyone here feels they are supporting a valuable and essential community effort to train a service dog.”

Karen encourages people to meet and greet Prancer before or after each class. However, as a part of Prancer’s training, Karen has to provide permission to pat him. If you would like to meet Karen and Prancer, both normally attend Roger’s NewBack Active class each Friday at 9 a.m.

Please welcome Prancer to the Inner Light Yoga studio as our first ever (and probably Canada’s first ever) service (yoga) puppy in training!

For more information on Prancer and the PADS program, visit the PADS website at http://pads.ca/pup-profile/prancer/#sthash.VTVoon8p.dpbs