Editor’s note: It’s no secret there are hard working dogs and cats. But while some are tending to traditional animal jobs, like herding cattle or mousing in barns, others are going to work with their owners and are performing “people” jobs at local stores, offices, job sites or even yoga studio, like Shanti, who helps students learn the moves associated with the spiritual and ascetic discipline.

-Names and occupation:
Shanti is a 7-month-old Miniature Dachshund, who has been “the studio dog” at  the Peace Yoga Studio since she was just 12 weeks old. JoAnn Goff, owner of the studio and a certified practitioner, calls Shanti’s arrival at the studio “fate.” Goff says she had been looking for a studio dog and saw Shanti’s photo on Facebook. She called the breeder and was told the little pup was already taken. A few days later the breeder called Goff back, saying she had taken the teeny, tiny puppy back after discovering she was being abused by her new owners. That was all it took for Goff to be in the car and on her way to pick up her “studio dog.”

-Special talents:
Shanti, whose name means “peace,” exudes a special brand of doggie serenity, tranquility and calmness to the studio.  Even though she’s young and true to her breed’s energetic and high-spirited trademarks, when it’s time for class, she knows her place — her bed. She climbs in, settles down and is content to let Goff lead the class through the various poses.
However, when she hears Goff intone the namaste, signaling the end of a session, Shanti knows her job and she does it with feeling and charisma. Being the “studio dog” starts with her demonstrating her yoga pose skills. There are two – downward dog and upward dog. The demo is followed by circling the room and greeting each and every class member.
“She never leaves anyone out. It doesn’t matter if there are three or 12 people in the class, she will make sure she greets everyone,” Goff proudly explains.
Most of the time, Shanti’s greeting is calm, quiet and loving. Occasionally, she sees someone who needs a little extra push. In those cases, she has been known to perch on the student’s back to provide an extra boost of encouragement.
Oh yes, there is one other special talent she enjoys displaying. This talent requires her stuffed toys. Shanti is more than happy to share those toys. In exchange, she expects students to give them a good toss across the room, so she can show off her speed and retriever skills. After all being “the studio dog” is a two-way street. She does all she can for students and she expects some pay back for her efforts.

-What makes Shanti perfect for her people job?
Silly question. Students love her. She inspires them as they’ve witnessed the little scared puppy she was when she arrived transform into the confident “studio dog” she has become.
“People come here for peacefulness and structure and they see that in Shanti. Even people who aren’t really dog people recognize those qualities in her,” Goff says. “People look for her and expect her to be a part of class.”
On the rare occasion when Shanti has decided to stay home with her variety, and much bigger, doggie siblings, students have a response.
“They say she isn’t here then you can’t put in the chair pose (a difficult move),” Goff says.

If you have or know of a dog or cat that works a people job let us know. Send an email to yournews@ardmoreite.com with the animal’s name, the name of the owner and where the special dog or cat works and contact information.