The popular yoga position downward-facing dog takes new meaning with Kristen Corral. With her, dogs participate.
Corral is a certified animal yoga instructor and massage therapist. She has done sessions with dogs, cats, horses and even snakes.
About a year ago, the southwest-area resident started Little White Dog Co., which provides services such as pet-sitting, walking, feeding and medicating, as well as massages and yoga instruction.
For anyone skeptical of massages and yoga for pets, Corral said it is a great bonding tool for owners and can be especially helpful for older animals with arthritis or other health problems.
"I've always been fascinated with animals," said Corral, who has three cats, two dogs and a temporary foster dog at home. " Animals are basically pure, unconditional love. They don't hate; they don't discriminate; they will love you no matter what."
Corral completed the University of Nevada, Las Vegas' animal massage and care provider program, becoming certified by IPTouch Animal Massage & Care.
"I'm certified in small, large and exotic (animals)," Corral said. "You can really do yoga with any animal."
Her teacher at UNLV, Amy Herzlich, said Corral is "trained in everything but jellyfish."
Herzlich said the animal massage and care program has been offered at UNLV since 1998, and more than 100 students have completed the 15 courses required for certification.
Classes usually are capped at 10 or fewer students, Herzlich said, which helps explain the low completion number over 14 years.
Corral's biggest passion is animals. A close second, she said, is dancing.
She moved to Las Vegas about three years ago to be a dancer in "Peepshow" at Planet Hollywood. She danced professionally in Los Angeles after graduating from high school in Orlando, Fla.
Performing is in her family. Her sister, Whitney Sprayberry, can be seen in "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" on Broadway.
She would gladly leave the stage behind, though, if she is able to make animal care her full-time job.
In her spare time, Corral volunteers with various local animal organizations, collecting and distributing food to homeless pets.
She also is a member of Nevada Political Action for Animals, a political action committee that supports candidates who support legislation benefiting animals.
NPAA President Stacia Newman said Corral is one of the most dedicated and committed members of the group.
"She is active on an ongoing basis," Newman said. "Some people will volunteer once a month; she is volunteering every day of the year to help animals.
"That's what makes Kristen such a special, special person."
To inquire about Corral's services, visit littlewhitedogco.com.
Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at firstname.lastname@example.org or 224-5524.