Super cool New York yoga instructor, Heidi Kristoffer loves yoga, being vegan and dog! Her rescue Chihuahua Achilles travels everywhere with her – on trains and planes – and is a sun worshipper, enjoying nothing better than sitting poolside with Heidi. We grabbed some time with Heidi to find about about life with Achilles in New York.
Tell us about yourself and what are your latest projects you are working on at the moment?
I am a yoga instructor in New York City. I am also a yoga and vegan expert for SHAPE Magazine and MindBodyGreen. I love all things yoga, vegan and dog. I write weekly for SHAPE, and I’m about to shoot another round of awesome yoga videos with them.
What is your breed of dog and how old is he? Why did you choose that breed?
Achilles is my fierce protector! He is a Chihuahua who I rescued from a shelter in February of 2005. We think he is about 9 years old. At the time, we had another rescue, Sascha, an adorable American Eskimo, who was closer to 20 pounds. I wanted a play mate for her, but I wanted our second dog to be portable and travel-able. It’s quite easy to find someone willing to take care of one dog while you are away, not so easy to find someone who is willing to take care of two! I used to look on Petfinder.com every day for very small companions for Sascha, and when Achilles’ five pound, dog loving profile came up, I contacted his foster mum immediately. When I met him, he had no hair and no teeth, but he slithered right into my lap and then my heart, I knew he was coming home with me. So, I didn’t so much choose the breed, as I chose Achilles, or maybe Achilles chose me.
Does he have any health/well being tips?
Achilles is a firm believer in stress-free, relaxed living. His ideal day constitutes snuggling in his bed, moving to my lap and snuggling there when I am home, and then back to his bed.
What difference has he made to your life?
Achilles is my heart. I love him more than anything, and he makes my whole life better. He makes me so happy every time I come home, as he is always super happy to see me – tail wagging and jumping around. And, any time when things aren’t great, he senses it, and comes in for a cuddle. Plus, he is my companion everywhere, all of the time. I am never alone with Achilles. My life has so much more love in it, thanks to my little man.
Where do you like to exercise Achilles? Does he do yoga with you?
Ha! Achilles yogas with me when he wants something. He has a way of getting under me when I am balancing on my hands; it is incredible how much he trusts me not to fall on him! If he doesn’t need anything at that moment, he is happy to hang out next to me while I practice, and come snuggle on me when I am doing more relaxing poses at the end of my practice.
Achilles and I walk everywhere together, but he doesn’t like to walk too far or too much. If we do walk, I usually end up picking him up, as he doesn’t love all of the people in the streets of New York. He much prefers small dog parks, or just playing in our apartment.
What is it like having a dog in New York?
I cannot imagine not having a dog in New York. I would feel weird going on walks around the city without Achilles. New York is an incredibly dog-friendly city- most stores have water bowls for all of the dogs that come in, and the same can be said for all of the outdoor cafés. Also, Achilles is incredibly portable, if need be, I can always carry him anywhere in one of his bags.
Do you travel with Achilles?
Yes. Achilles comes with me pretty much everywhere. He comes on the plane with us (we don’t put him in cargo)- he is small enough for that, and he doesn’t mind long car rides, especially if he is sitting on my lap. He is a veteran traveller.
Does Achilles have any best friends?
Achilles love all dogs. He especially loves big dogs that he can snuggle underneath.
Do you have some favourite places you like to take him to?
We love going to the small dog parks. Other than that, Achilles loves anywhere with sun – he is a major sun worshipper, so he loves to hang out poolside in the summer, or come any place warm with us on vacation.
Does he have any funny ways?
Achilles sings! When we first brought him home from the shelter, he didn’t make a sound – none – he was so quiet and scared. Then, in May, for one of my parent’s birthdays, we were bringing out the cake (vegan, because I made it!) and singing happy birthday, and he was sitting on my lap, and all of a sudden started shaking. He started shaking his head like crazy, and then all of a sudden, he started singing with us – seriously – belting it out! He still breaks out his skills for special guests every now and then.
Anything you feeling strongly about regarding pet welfare?
I am an incredibly passionate supporter of shelter animals. There are so many amazing and wonderful animals who get killed in shelters every day, who have so much love to give. I wish more people would adopt. I fully intend to run a shelter of my own some day.
What is on your Christmas wishlist from www.petspyjamas.com?
While the Katie Puff Bed just might be Achilles’ idea of heaven, the Cappottino coat is pretty amazing, and would give Achillles his first full coat of (faux!) fur. The adorable rainbow knit cardigan by Puchi I think would be right up his alley, too.