Many University of Georgia students braved the cold last night to enjoy puppy yoga presented by UGA CHAARG and Rescue Paws USA at UGA.
The event began shortly after 6:30 p.m. at the University of Georgia’s intramural fields, where pop music and Christmas lights brightened the mood despite the cold and growing darkness. CHAARG treasurer Kyleigh Marshall and Rescue Paws president Abigail Chasteen kicked off the event by briefly discussing their organizations to over 35 attendees bundled up in hats and gloves.
Chasteen, a senior journalism and political science double major from Griffin, said during the introduction that the puppies, two dogs from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter, were running late and wouldn’t arrive until later during the event. The puppies finally arrived around 7 p.m., when some attendees began to leave possibly due to the cold weather.
The temperature continued to drop as the event went on, with the windchill dropping as low as 21 degrees before the program ended. CHAARG posted the weather forecast on their Instagram story earlier in the day, urging attendees to bundle up if they planned to come out.
After the introductions from the organization leaders, the yoga practice began. Former CHAARG ambassador Hannah Rogers led attendees through a gentle yoga practice that was feasible in the cold weather.
“I’m not about to make you take your shoes off in 20-degree weather,” Rogers said to the crowd.
In addition to being a social event, the puppy yoga was also a donation drive for local animal shelters. Attendees were encouraged to bring items like non-clumping cat litter and laundry detergent, according to a Rescue Paws 2021 Instagram post.
“We put [the event] together because we like to partner with other UGA organizations and also try to include some sort of charity with [events], which is why we’re collecting donations,” Marshall said.
Marshall, a junior biology major from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, said the idea for the event came from the former CHAARG treasurer, and she was glad to see it finally come to fruition. The organization wanted to continue hosting programs for its members despite COVID-19, so the outdoor puppy yoga was a good way to allow members to have fun while remaining socially distant, she said.
Marshall and Chasteen are both passionate about their organizations, and they thought a collaborative event would be beneficial to members of both groups, Chasteen said.
Student Meta Ughetto isn’t involved in either organization but said she wanted to come to the event after seeing the flyer on CHAARG’s Instagram.
“I get stressed a lot with school, and I saw the flyer and it [said] puppies and yoga … it just sounded fun and it was outside and socially distanced so it’s safe,” she said.
Marshall said she hopes to do more events that incorporate community service in the future. Chasteen said collaborating with CHAARG had been great, and that there’s a possibility the groups will host events again in the future.
“I hope [attendees] learn more about our individual organizations and our missions and really enjoy themselves learning more about women’s fitness and homeless puppies,” Chasteen said during the event.