Dogs turn into gym rats 

A handful of border collies, a Chihuahua and a small white poodle excitedly sniff the air as a 7-year-old Australian shepherd named "Craic" races through a new 2,100-square-foot indoor agility course on a brisk November afternoon. The talented shepherd runs over a wooden A-frame, crawls through two tunnels, jumps a hurdle and makes a beeline back to a snack-covered table, where frosted doggie biscuits await.

"I'm so proud, I can't see straight," says 71-year-old Carol McQuade, Craic's owner.

Craic's demonstration came last Thursday as Go Fetch! unveiled its newest dog-centric outpost, an agility gym and training center.

Months of curriculum prep preceded opening the spacious South Higgins Avenue facility, which offers six instructors who teach classes for novice pups and old pros alike. Courses include puppy kindergarten, agility and obedience training, and a class titled "Dances with Dogs," which instructs canine and human partners to move together in synch with music. McQuade, who is also a Go Fetch! gym supervisor and helped craft the curriculum, says "Dances with Dogs" involves a significant amount of twirling and hand-to-paw contact.

"We don't do the dance, because I'm too old," McQuade says of her regimen with Craic.

While McQuade doesn't dance, she does ensure dogs are on their best behavior while overseeing the open gym. The facility charges $30 monthly for use of the space and all that comes with it, like the A-frame, hoops and tunnels during scheduled open gym hours. For those requiring a more structured regimen, a series of six classes, held once a week, runs $95.

The novel approach to canine health marks the latest endeavor by Go Fetch! owner Scott Timothy, who first opened the store as a retail outlet and dog walking service in 2002.

The novel approach to canine health marks the latest endeavor by Go Fetch! owner Scott Timothy, who first opened the business as a retail outlet and dog walking service in 2002. Timothy later expanded with a grooming facility and retail store on N. Reserve Street, in addition to his Woody Street location. The Hip Strip store, recently renamed Worthy Paws, closed earlier this month. Timothy says the Worthy Paws operation will be absorbed into a new retail shop opening next to the gym.

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