Peloton's Jess Sims Talks Her Beloved Rescue Pets for National Dog Day

The fan-favorite instructor is a dog mom to pit-mixes Sienna Grace and Shiloh.

"Okay, before we wrap up here," exclaims Peloton's Jess Sims while grabbing her phone to display something during a recent Shape Zoom call. "Take a look at their photos from today's shoot — you're going to be floored by their cuteness. They're seriously the most photogenic dogs ever!" Sims is talking about her fur babies: Sienna Grace, 4, and Shiloh, 10 months old. Sims, who also co-hosts in-arena for the New York Liberty of the WNBA, welcomed her two pit mixes from Kentucky into her life via Muddy Paws Rescue, based in NYC. She adopted Sienna when she was just a 10-week old pupper in 2017, and six months ago, Shiloh joined the pack. "I've always been someone who roots for the underdog," shares the Peloton superstar. "My dad joked that if he ever writes a book, which I doubt he will, my chapter would be titled 'Jess: Champion of the Underdog.' That applies to both people and dogs. These dogs deserve a chance, they need to know what love feels like, they require proper care, structure, and routine." Jess says she was smitten with Sienna from the moment she laid eyes on her and "wanted to get Sienna a friend. That's when Shiloh came into the picture. And like so many things these days, Sims first met Shiloh over Zoom. "The foster parents held him up to the screen, and he just stayed there in their arms for the entire 20 minutes I was talking to them," she remembers. "I thought, 'he's so tranquil and mellow, he's the perfect balance to Sienna's energetic nature, I have to have this dog.'"

ACANA's Rescue Care for Adopted Dogs caught the interest of Peloton's Jess Sims, an obvious choice given her passion for rescue dogs. ACANA, aptly named after its origin in Alberta, Canada, introduced a unique dog food to the U.S. market, specifically designed for dogs transitioning from shelters to permanent homes. The need for such a product, according to Sims, is undeniably significant. She shares, "There are countless dogs that require rescue and truly, it is us who are rescued by these dogs." ACANA supplied Sims with some dog food, which quickly became a hit with her pets, Sienna and Shiloh. Despite her initial intrigue, Sims was more interested in promoting ACANA's Forever Project. This initiative provides new pet parents with high-quality pet food to give their new family members the best possible start. As ACANA shared various statistics during their conversations (including findings from a recent survey indicating that 77 percent of dog owners feel they have a stronger bond with their pet now compared to pre-pandemic), one particular piece of research stood out to Sims. She recalls, "ACANA has conducted numerous fascinating studies, however, one revealed that 72 percent of dog owners became more physically active after rescuing a dog." Consider the ripple effect of this - rescuing a dog saves a life and contributes to increased activity levels. It's a win-win situation," says Sims. This resonates with her personal experience of heightened physical activity since adopting her two dogs, Sienna and Shiloh. Despite being an active athlete and regular in the Peloton studio where she teaches treadmill, strength, and bike boot camp classes, living with Sienna and Shiloh provided a new form of physical engagement.

"Working out is part of my routine, but the real exercise comes from daily walks with my dogs," says Sims. "My day begins early, kicking off with a morning stroll for the dogs followed by their breakfast. A mid-morning walk then ensues, giving me time to handle my meetings, programming, and playlisting while they take a nap. An afternoon walk before my thrice-weekly teaching sessions ensures they're well taken care of." But for Sims, these walks hold more value than just physical exertion. "These walks cater to my mental health," she explains. "Given the past year's circumstances where we've been confined indoors, it's become increasingly necessary to maintain boundaries between different aspects of life- eating, sleeping, working, all happening under one roof. The walks serve as my escape, my chance to step outside and breathe in nature. I choose to keep my phone away during this time, aiding me in being fully present and enjoying the time with my dogs, Sienna and Shiloh. It's almost therapeutic to see the world through their eyes. Their presence has been a blessing, especially in recent times." Sims mentions that juggling her rigorous workout regime becomes easier with Shiloh's addition to the household, providing Sienna company. "They keep each other occupied," she shares. "However, the key is to tire them out with a long walk. As soon as we return, I reward them with treats to keep them busy while I hop on my bike or treadmill for strength training. Closing the door to signal 'me-time' is pretty straightforward since they're already tired out from their exercise."

In celebration of National Dog Day on August 26, Jess Sims, a renowned fitness trainer from Peloton, partnered with ACANA to host a live stream event. The purpose of this class was to guide pet owners on how they can strengthen their bond with their beloved dogs, seamlessly incorporating them into their health routines. This collaboration with ACANA thrills Sims, especially their undertaking, known as the Forever Project. "I am incredibly delighted about ACANA's partnership with Best Friends Animal Society. They have committed to donating 2.5 million meals," expressed Sims referring to the largest U.S. sanctuary for homeless pets that will be the beneficiary of this project. Her passion for the cause is evident, often jokingly questioned whether her platform is a fitness or a dog account, to which she replies, "it's a dog account." With over 348,000 followers on Instagram, many of whom are ardent fans of her dogs Sienna and Shiloh, it is clear that her audience doesn't mind the canine-centric content.

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