By Katy Cable - The Weekly Runt
A 3 min. Read
There’s a new spiritual sanctuary in the heart of Los Angeles that’s got everyone howling! -Literally! This Cypress Park retreat has all the bells and whistles, bowls and crystals one would extract from a holistic center.
It features an enormous meditation room that feels as though you’re in the middle of a lush rainforest. A quiet, candle-lit massage and reiki studio with soft comfy pillows, a trickling fountain, crystals and a Buddha statue. Just outside is a large tranquil yard with shade trees, fountains, comfy seating and a lattice covered patio. The space also offers a retail shop featuring a variety of unique treasures.
The unusual thing about this new haven is, it caters to people AND THEIR DOGS. Available services range from outdoor training hikes, doggie daycare and grooming, to reiki and crystal energy healing.
DEN (an acronym for Dogs, Exercise, Nutrition) has been a dream come true for owners Lindsay Velez and Victorious Solomon. After years of offering dog walking services, many requests came in from clients for nutrition, grooming, even reiki for their pets. Velez began creating her dream: A beautiful, serene center that included these new-age services not found anywhere else. The ideal space would mimic their home shared with three children, four dogs, and several canine guests.
It wasn’t easy finding the perfect space in the middle of a highly congested urban city. But, WOW! Mission accomplished! Once inside the wooden gates you’re transported to a mystical paradise. It’s easy to completely forget you’re in the heart of LA. Once the retreat opened, they hoped it would resonate with dog owners. After all, this new age one-stop-shop for pets was anything but typical.
Since it’s grand opening nearly a year ago, DEN has been wildly popular and gaining new devotees by the minute. Proof that people are loving this place to find Zen with their favorite spirit animals. Named “Best In LA” by Los Angeles Magazine, word is spreading not just among the influencers, healers, yogis and hipsters but anyone curious to have a new and different experience with their dog.
Hoping to relieve horrible PTSD and anxiety in my little “scaredy-cat” dog Olive, I dragged her and my reluctant husband to try a Zen Sunday Morning Sound bath, led by Kristin Korot. Since 2012, Korot has been around the globe bringing people together with wolves, goats, horses, dogs, plus farm and exotic animals through sound healings. She has so many amazing stories and testimonials of her healings. Clients who credit her from curing them from terminal cancer and other illnesses. It seemed too good to be true and I had to see for myself if there was any truth to all this mystic “woo-woo” stuff!
A spirited group of nearly 30 dogs in a variety of shapes, sizes and breeds took their places on pillows, towels and mats. No sooner did I start stretching out when my little black Olive got into a gnarly “cat-fight” with a small, white, fluffy dog over a particular pillow. Although the other dog’s mom apologized and took full responsibility, my nerves went through the bamboo roof. I wanted to bolt out the door with my tail between my legs. I dreaded the next hour.
My heart was beating out of my chest with nerves over what everyone in the room must be thinking. I knew Olive and the white dog were the test rats for this group. I was positive any minute we would both be asked to grab our black and white four-legged fighting beasts and leave until we could get some better manners. I thought we had exceeded the limit of what the Sound Bath master could accomplish in a one-hour session.
Korot began the session by walking around the room offering lavender oil and telling us how helpful this practice has been for those in need of healing. Animals are extremely in-tune to our anxiety and stress. This next hour promised to calm our minds and bodies.
-As well as our dog’s. It would help us form a stronger bond and connection with our pets. Especially rescue or shelter pets with anxiety, and PTSD. Plus dogs get the extra benefit of picking up even more octaves and tones from the sound bowls than humans can hear. I was cautiously optimistic.
While Korot went around the room, more dogs began to scuffle. Korot remained calm as she took a seat in the center of the room and began tapping the bowls. She explained the various healing tones and vibrations. I tried to unwind and relax but several dogs had far too much energy to lie quiet on a mat and breathe. Instead, they were barking while darting around the room, jumping over the motionless bodies on the floor. I had to stay “on-guard” should Olive go into defense mode.
I wrapped Olive’s leash tightly around my arm and tried to calmly pet her while she popped up to watch the activity. My husband was zero help. He’d been out like a light in a meditative trance before the first Tibetan bowl had even been tapped.
Soon Olive’s scuffle had been far outmatched by other spirited canines. Within five minutes she was completely relaxed and fighting to keep her eyes open. She had gotten comfortable laying on my belly, (something she never does, unless I have a slice of cheese pizza in my hand) All the barking and occasional dogs coming over to sniff and scope out our space, didn’t disturb her in the least. That was a true miracle.
After a few minutes, Korot changed the tones and even the most high-strung, energetic dogs became still and focused. The energy in the room was so calm and peaceful you could hear the soothing water flowing in the outdoor fountain and soft breathing of those who had drifted off.
An hour seemed to go by in a New York minute and all too quickly the session ended. It was truly remarkable. Just taking our space and sitting amongst each other soaking up the healing sounds completely transformed everyone in the room. -And especially the more spirited dogs.
Following the one-hour sound bath we were invited to enjoy snacking on a nice spread of fresh fruits, vegan donuts, juice, coffee and tea. It was a nice opportunity to meet everyone and discuss our experience. While many attendees had come because they were sound bath devotees, nobody had ever tried this WITH their dog.
Everyone agreed it was transformative. We all were believers now and we were all HOOKED! Even my husband, who wanted to attend this event like I want to have a root canal, remarked at how great he felt and what an amazing experience it was. He wouldn’t hesitate to come back again. Next time, no bribes would be needed!
We eagerly followed our rejuvenated pups to the large outdoor oasis for socializing and play. On this Sunday, it was being decorated to the nines for a special VIP party. I figured looking at the lavish swag bags and decor it must be a big celebrity. And I was right...Sushi, the social media sensation (@sushisaid) was celebrating a birthday fit for a king! -Or a white poodle with aqua blue ears and nearly 1 million social media followers.
If you’re looking for a cool, new unique way to calm your dog, recharge your own batteries and strengthen your bond, or just want to try something completely new and different, check out DEN. They have calendar of fun things going on everyday of the week! From organic spa treatments, training hikes, daycare, holistic healing seminars and soundbaths, you’ll find it here. And don’t forget lavish PAWties! They have that too!
I promise you, even the most anxious dog with the worst social skills will find a loving, welcoming place where stress melts like a CBD snow cone in July. You’ ll maybe find me stretched out in the corner with my husband and Olive as we recover from the many stresses of life!
DEN Urban Dog Retreat, 3252 Arroyo Seco Ave., Cypress Park.LA, CA 90065 (833)DEN-PACK https://denurbandog.com/
🐾Katy Cable is a former actress appearing in “Back To The Future” and starring in the TV series: “Safe At Home” & “ Fired Up!” In addition to her dog health & lifestyle blog/vlog: The Weekly Runt, (https://www.weeklyrunt.com/) she’s a contributing writer to numerous publications including Thrive Global, & The Huffington Post. Cable lives at the beach with her husband, Rick and her rescue Pug, Olive.🐾