Wednesday, November 14, 2018
News Roundup

Goat Yoga craze combines relaxing pastime with nuzzling of small animals

THONOTOSASSA — Twenty-five yoga enthusiasts spread their mats and prepared for a Saturday morning class under oak trees.

Then 14 goats joined them for Goat Yoga, where the instructor's directions were sometimes drowned out by "baas" from the animals and laughter from attendees getting nuzzled by goats.

Goat Yoga is a trend started in central Oregon, combining a one-hour yoga session with the animal therapy of Nigerian dwarf goats that wander around and interact with the class. In the last eight months, stories have appeared in hundreds of media outlets around the world.

Goat Yoga has taken hold in Thonotosassa during the past few weeks through a new foundation raising funds for charity.

"It's the hot thing," said Debbie Canton, 53, who started Grady Goat Foundation in March and started hosting the classes at Hat Trick Ranch, which she owns with Rob Canton, 52, her husband of 21 years.

Rob Canton is the founder of Athletes+Causes, a nonprofit that supports the philanthropic causes of athletes, artists and entertainers. Grady Goat Foundation is a donor-advised fund under the fiscal sponsorship of Athletes+Causes.

Debbie Canton sold a hair salon business in downtown Tampa to devote her time to the ranch, which they started three years ago.

"I get up and milk the goats every morning," said Debbie Canton, who has 40 goats, sells goat milk and goat cheese, and plans to offer goats milk soap soon.

The yoga classes are conducted on a hay-covered, shaded fenced area at the ranch, which also has cattle and a barn where classes will be held if it gets too hot or rains.

The inspiration for the foundation is Grady, a goat born March 14 with what Debbie Canton described as "goat polio." He couldn't walk or nurse, was almost blind and deaf. She nursed him with a bottle, gave him massages and saw tremendous improvement to the point he is part of the class now too.

"He is the happiest little guy we've got," she said.

On a recent Saturday, the class included 22 women and three men, mainly younger than 40. Most of the dwarf goats were a year old and younger.

"I loved it — and the property," said participant Diana Lawhorn of Seminole Heights. "I was watching a bald eagle, hawks and sand hill cranes the whole time, too."

Class instructor Chanel Lobdell, who teaches community yoga classes, connected with Canton through a mutual friend.

"People were a little hesitant at first," Lobdell said, but she tells them they can just ignore her, take pictures of the goats, snuggle with them or do whatever they want.

The instructor had done yoga with her dog before but Goat Yoga was a first for her, too.

Some participants spent as much time taking selfies and loving the goats as they did following the instructor. Among them was Kaitlin Eldridge, 27, of Zephyrhills, who had two goats sleeping on her yoga mat.

"I couldn't focus on the yoga; I just wanted to snuggle with the goats," Eldridge said.

Funds raised from the $20-per-person fee will help at-risk children or those with special needs. They also may help start a home for other special-needs goats.

Throughout the class, Debbie Canton stood ready with all-natural cleaner sprays, towels and disposable wipes — in case a goat has an accident.

Emily Crandall, 21, a University of Tampa student, made use of the supplies.

"Oh I don't mind. I've been pooped on by monkeys, turkeys," said Crandall, who came to the class because she wanted to relax with final exams upon her.

The Saturday morning outing was a date for Seminole Heights residents Max McAllister and his fiancée Jill Lenzo.

"This was my first time at yoga and I loved it," McAllister said. "We came because she is a sucker for anything with goats."

Those who attended April 29 were treated to a surprise when Debbie Canton bought out a goat born that morning before class.

Canton limits classes to 25 participants. She rotates the goats.

"The younger ones really like attention. They are like my children; and nobody has more friendly goats than we do."

Contact Lenora Lake at [email protected]

     
Comments
10 things about Rays Blake Snellís Cy Young winning season

10 things about Rays Blake Snellís Cy Young winning season

LHP Blake Snell accomplished a lot in his remarkable 2018 breakout season. And wining the American League Cy Young award on Wednesday added to that list:* He became the second Ray win the most prestigious pitching award, joining David Price, who did ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Buccaneers All-22: Tony Dungy wants to know what happened in the debacle against Washington. Here are the answers, coach

Buccaneers All-22: Tony Dungy wants to know what happened in the debacle against Washington. Here are the answers, coach

Stop blaming the play-caller. Dirk Koetter wasnít the reason why Tampa Bay scored only three points.
Updated: 3 hours ago
That Kate Upton tweet youíve been waiting for on Blake Snell winning AL Cy Young award

That Kate Upton tweet youíve been waiting for on Blake Snell winning AL Cy Young award

Model/actress Kate Upton had plenty to say in 2016 when then fiance Justin Verlander missed out on winning the AL Cy Young award due in part to the votes of the two Tampa Bay writers, posting an extraordinarily profane, and extremely memorable, tweet...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Raysí Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

Raysí Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

ST. PETERSBURG – Blake Snell first started thinking about it at the end of last season, then more as spring training drew near. He shared first with teammate Chris Archer on the phone, then later with Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder over a Janu...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Disney unveils plans for ‘Guardians of Galaxy’ coaster, high-tech robots

Disney unveils plans for ‘Guardians of Galaxy’ coaster, high-tech robots

At an amusement park industry trade show, a Disney executive hails the next generation of animatronics.
Updated: 4 hours ago
Softball stars Callie Turner, Alexis Kilfoyl sign together

Softball stars Callie Turner, Alexis Kilfoyl sign together

Alexis Kilfoyl was set to have the spotlight all to herself when she signed with Alabama on Wednesday.The Academy at the Lakes senior, one of the top softball pitchers in the nation, planned on being the only one to deliver a speech in the school's g...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Wesley Chapel toddler fell into pool, rushed to hospital

Wesley Chapel toddler fell into pool, rushed to hospital

The incident took place in the 30600 block of Tremont Drive. The boy was reported to in critical condition.
Updated: 5 hours ago
Doctor facing malpractice suit wins key appellate court ruling

Doctor facing malpractice suit wins key appellate court ruling

Appeals court upholds ruling that expert witness doctor was not qualified to render opinion.
Updated: 6 hours ago
Pinellas hotels report 6 percent dip in room sales since Red Tide hit

Pinellas hotels report 6 percent dip in room sales since Red Tide hit

Pinellas County is still on track to break its bed-tax collection record, even though Red Tide has showed little sign of letting up.
Updated: 6 hours ago
Slain father: ‘If something happens to me, it’s going to be my son.’

Slain father: ‘If something happens to me, it’s going to be my son.’

Friends mourn the loss of Jim Costello, who said he feared his son. Tarpon Springs police say the son fatally shot his father after a fight over a dog.
Updated: 6 hours ago