In The News - K9 Fit Club

June 8, 2019

As seen in The Villages News on April 14, 2019. 

K9 Fit Club, a lifestyle company dedicated to the health, fitness and wellness of dogs and their owners, will soon operate in The Villages.

Taught in controlled, small-group environments by certified trainers, K9 Fit Club offers fitness programs and special needs programs to address all levels.

“I am excited to jump on board and become the newest licensee of K9 Fit Club,” says Darian Mosley, owner/operator of the organization’s new Central Florida division. Mosley is enthused to bring dog fitness programs to The Villages and to allow owners and pets to experience greater wellness and a more enriched lifestyle. “I now have the opportunity to help people and their pets in our community live happier, healthier lives.”

Mosley, who is a licensed veterinary technician, has worked in the veterinary field in The Villages for a decade and has operated out of Buffalo Ridge Animal Hospital.

The group plans on offering group and individual sessions next month at a variety of locations.

For more information or to check out some of their classes, visit their website at villagesk9fitclub.com or follow them on Instagram or Facebook.


January 12, 2016

Her vet was brutally honest. “Your dog is overweight. And so are you.” She was mad, but he was right.

Tricia Montgomery, the founder of K9 Fit Club, with her current dog, Zeus

My business is an unusual one. I founded K9 Fit Club, a gym where people and their dogs can work out together. How did I come up with that concept? That’s quite a story.

I’ve always loved animals. Health and fitness? Not so much. I’d been overweight all my life, and I was resigned to it. It wasn’t until a doctor forced me to face the truth that I discovered nothing is impossible if you have the right motivation. It wasn’t even my doctor, but my dog Louie’s.

Louie was a Basset hound. I’d had my share of struggles, but I knew Louie was one blessing God had given me to get me through the tough times. He was my best friend. I showered him with goodies (we liked the same foods) and made sure he had the best care, with a veterinarian I trusted. Dr. Mayer was kind, gentle and thorough, and he cared about Louie as much as I did.

That day I brought four-year-old Louie in for a checkup. “Hello, Tricia,” Dr. Mayer said. “How’s my big boy?” He knelt to greet my dog and check him over without having to lift 72 pounds of Basset hound onto the metal table.

When he finished he stood up. “Bassets are big dogs, but Louie weighs too much,” he said. “This puts him at risk for diabetes and heart disease. Each extra pound takes almost two years off his life. I know you don’t want that.”

“Of course not!”

“Then you have to help him lose weight.” Dr. Mayer looked me in the eye. “Tricia, this is hard for me to say. Louie isn’t the only one who’s fat. So are you.”

Fat. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that ugly word. I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when I was a baby and put on steroid medication that made me gain weight. A lot of weight. Other kids made fun of me. My mom tried to comfort me with food. My dad tried to motivate me with weekly weigh-ins before church.

Was it any wonder that I grew up to have dysfunctional eating habits and a negative body image? Still, what Dr. Mayer said cut me to the core. I thought he cared about Louie and me! Why was he being so cruel? I was so upset, i stormed out of the office. I took Louie home.

Then I guess you could say I went through almost all the stages of grief. First, denial. I knew I was fat. I was 260 pounds, my heaviest ever. But what could I do about it? This was the way God made me and I was fine with it. If he wanted me to be thin, he would have given me a different body type.

Then, anger. I headed for the kitchen, Louie padding after me. I slathered a slice of bread with butter. “Can you believe Dr. Mayer?” I said, ripping off a corner of the bread and tossing it to Louie. “We’re never going back!”

The bread and butter didn’t soothe me. Neither did the mac and cheese I had next. Fast food, my favorite indulgence, was the only answer. For four days, I went on a binge. I took Louie to the drive-through and got two juicy double cheeseburgers. One for me, one for him. He gobbled his burger and snuggled close to me. “We have each other,” I said, stroking his long, silky ears. “That’s what matters.”

Depression hit on the fifth day. I woke up feeling awful. Staggering out of bed I caught a glimpse of myself in the full-length mirror. I usually averted my gaze but something made me stop and stare at my reflection. I wasn’t fine being fat. I was miserable. This couldn’t be what God wanted for me.

I heard a wet, slobbery sound. Louie was splayed on the floor, licking a takeout container I must have dropped. Beside him was a bottle of chocolate syrup, dented from my trying to squeeze every last drop into my mouth. I grabbed the bottle. “Louie, no!”

Thank goodness he hadn’t gotten into the syrup. Chocolate could kill a dog! Only chocolate? an inner voice seemed to ask. How about everything else you’re feeding him? What’s that doing to him? Louie looked up, panting heavily, as if he’d overexerted himself. But he was only lying down.

Tricia (in gray) teaches proper plank form.That was the last stage: acceptance. Dr. Mayer was right. I’d thought I was showing my love by letting Louie eat all he wanted. The truth was, I was slowly killing him. How long would we have each other if I kept doing this?

“Enough,” I said, snatching the takeout container from between his paws. He let out a woof, surprised. “I’m doing this for your health, Louie. And mine.”

I got rid of everything that packed on the pounds. I read about healthy foods for people and dogs, and that’s what I stocked up on. I put both of us on a schedule—three balanced meals a day and two nutritious snacks. No more fast food for either of us.

I rewarded Louie by playing with him. Instead of just opening the door and letting him out, I walked him. Only for 15 minutes a night at first. I was too self-conscious to exercise in broad daylight.

Before long, Louie and I could make it to the park near our house. Soon I didn’t mind daytime walks. I incorporated lunges, leg lifts, stair climbs into our walks. Louie was with me every step of the way, his ears flopping jauntily.

In a year, I was down to 175 pounds. Louie was a svelte 61 pounds. I couldn’t wait to take him to Dr. Mayer for his checkup. “Wow, look at you, fella!” the vet said. “And you too, Tricia. What a transformation!”

“Thanks to you,” I said. “If you hadn’t been so honest with me, Louie and I would never have gotten healthy.”

The biggest transformation was on the inside. My self-consciousness became self-confidence. I was ready to join a gym. But every gym I visited had a sign on the door saying No Pets Allowed. Louie was my best friend and workout partner—the best motivator God could have blessed me with. I couldn’t leave him behind.

I took the money I’d saved for a gym membership and bought a treadmill, weights and exercise balls for us to use at home. Then we outgrew our home gym. Was there some kind of program where dogs and their owners could work out together? I looked all over the Chicago area but couldn’t find one.

I found a business partner and we tested the idea for ourselves. Our first class was at the park near me. We showed up half an hour early and there were already 23 people in line with their dogs, eager to work out.

Louie passed on after a long, healthy life. That first class led to many more, and eventually to my opening K9 Fit Club. We now have certified trainers in every state, and even as far away as Singapore. It’s an unusual business, definitely. And an inspired one—inspired by my love for my dog Louie.


August 21, 2014

Kelle King wore leggings and a Spandex tank top as she lunged back and forth over a step platform. Her workout partner, Kaiya, wore a collar and leash for her turn to leap across.

King, 30, and her year-old German shepherd mix were demonstrating pieces of gym equipment that pets and people can use together to stay fit, at last week’s IDEA World Fitness Convention at the Anaheim Convention Center.

In another sequence, King and Kaiya used a Bosu ball, a type of balance ball that rests flat on the floor. King stretched out to a plank position with her hands on the ball. Kaiya rested her front paws on the other side of the ball.

“She’s had so much fun,” said King, who lives in North Hollywood. “She’s never done any of this before. I was really impressed with how quickly she picked it up and enjoyed it.”

For the first time at the 27th annual conference, dogs were in attendance along with fitness professionals who promoted everything from apparel to energy drinks.

Tricia Montgomery of Chicago started K9 Fit Club in 2012, which she says is the nation’s first facility for humans and dogs to use together. She recently launched an online trainer certification program in hopes of spreading the program across the country.

“As we as a nation have gotten more obese, our dogs have gotten more obese beside us,” Montgomery said from her demonstration booth, wearing a T-shirt that read, “Working out is not so ruff.”

While the federal government says 69 percent of American adults are overweight or obese, that figure is 53 percent for dogs, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. In both cases, the culprits are too many calories and not enough activity.

A study by Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago found that overweight owners who exercise with their dogs are more likely to lose weight and stay motivated than those who work out on their own.

“If you look at all the guidelines, the No. 1 recommendation is, Americans need to walk more,” Dr. Robert Kushner, who conducted the study, said in a previous interview with the Register. “You don’t see a lot of overweight people walking overweight dogs because they’re both indoors on the couch watching TV. We tried to turn that around.”

Montgomery, 50, can confirm that finding. She began losing weight 20 years ago after an appointment, not with her doctor, but with her dog Louie’s veterinarian.

“He said, ‘Louie has gained some weight,’ and he folded his hands and said, ‘You’re not getting any thinner. He’s gaining weight and you’re gaining weight.’”

Montgomery, who at the time weighed 265 pounds, was so upset that she left without paying the bill.

“I cried and I binged,” she recalled.

But she began taking her Basset hound for evening walks and they climbed stairs together. Ultimately, she lost 130 pounds and Louie shed about 4 pounds.

“He’s your best motivator,” Montgomery said. “He’ll never quit on you. He’ll never call and cancel. All he wants to do is please.”

Montgomery said class sizes are limited and dogs typically catch on quickly. Frequent water breaks are included to make sure the furry participants don’t get too tired.

Rachel Cantore, 29, of Laguna Niguel is a personal trainer who plans to launch K9 Fit Club classes in Orange County. She said pets and owners both build strength and endurance.

“These dogs come in with all this energy,” Cantore said. “At the end of class, you can tell they’ve gotten their workout. They’re tired, they’re mellow.”

To learn more, visit k9fitclub.com

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