Pilates is great for the mind, body and spirit. So is cuddling a cute dog. So why not combine them? One studio in North Carolina has done just that, and it even allows participants to adopt their favorite pooch after the class.

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Guests can play with cute puppies at this monthly charity event © Cisco Pilates

Cisco is a small private studio located in the mountain town of Ashville. Since 2011, owner Alexis Miller has specialized in private lessons with a few group classes. Her most recent partnership sees her teaming up with the Ashville Humane Society for Pilates with Puppies. The specialty classes are held approximately once a month, with tickets costing $15. All of the money raised is donated to the work that the Ashville Humane Society does.

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Alexis with the puppy that inspired her to start the program © Cisco Pilates

“Why puppies? Because I love puppies! Because everyone loves puppies. No one is sad at a Pilates with Puppies class… it's impossible to not have a huge smile on your face when an adorable puppy is bounding towards you. Also, Asheville is dog crazy. It is a perfect place to own a dog, not only as a super dog-friendly town but also there are endless hikes to explore,” Alexis told Lonely Planet.

According to Alexis, the reaction has been incredible. In the last two years, she has taught over 26 classes and raised over $14,000, and the Ashville Humane Society has gotten great exposure. There is another added benefit in that it helps the puppies get socialized – while the humans get some fluffy therapy.

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The dogs get socialized during the classes, with all the money going towards the Ashville Humane Society © Cisco Pilates

“It's a win-win for everyone. And selfishly, I get to spend more time with puppies. There have been puppies pulled out of the class to be adopted, and also puppies adopted immediately after the class, so that's always really fun to see.” While puppies are most easily rehomed, Alexis said that the event hugely benefits older animals due to the attention the Ashville Humane Society has been getting. The non-profit sometimes runs adoption specials for all other animals six months and over with lower fees for people interested.

The next Pilates with Puppies classes is scheduled for 25 January at the Ashville Humane Society. 

More information on Pilates with Puppies is available at the official Cisco Pilates website

Read more: Take a pilates class with pigs at this English farm

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