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'Paw-some' new gym offers dogs a place to learn and play

The Neenah K9 Rec Center offers dog and their owners a space to learn and play
Neenah K9 Rec Center
Posted at 7:56 PM, Mar 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-08 21:03:16-05

NEENAH (NBC 26) — Dogs need to stay active all year round, but when winter brings snow and ice and spring in Wisconsin can bring… anything, a space to let dogs let loose is hard to come by.

Nita Diaz and Becky Heiner took notice of this issue, so they created a space for dogs to stay active all year long.

“Throughout the years' people have always said, oh I wish there was an indoor dog park, oh I wish there was an indoor dog park,” said Nita Diaz, owner of the Neenah K9 Rec Center.

As a lifelong dog lover herself, Diaz opened the Neenah K9 Rec Center for people and their pets, that's indoors.

The K9 Rec Center offers various classes and trainings as well as a gym membership that allows the use of the open space.

“People want someplace where they can go indoors and just have their own space for them and their dogs,” said Diaz.

Diaz worked as a fitness instructor at Gym 35 in Neenah, and at the site of the old gym, you can now find the Neenah K9 Rec Center.

“I wanted to get back into doing something with dogs and thought this was a perfect space,” said Diaz.

She spent decades working with dogs, and opening the K9 Rec Center was the perfect way to get back to her roots.

“Dog training is really my passion, it’s what I enjoy,” said Diaz.

To open her dog gym, Diaz brought along a fellow dog lover, Becky Heiner, and her pup Django.

“I’ve been doing dog sports for about 15 years,” said Becky Heiner, a certified pet dog trainer and canine fitness trainer.

Diaz specializes in agility and nose work while Heiner focuses on fitness.

“I can help design exercise programs to help keep dogs healthy and let them have a little fun,” said Heiner.

She calls herself a personal trainer, but for dogs.

It’s more than a job for Becky. Seeing the bond between dogs and their owners through training is why she does what she does.

“That relationship you can build with your dog through training,” said Heiner.

For Nita, “Just to see that lightbulb go off and that confidence. For me that’s the most rewarding,” said Diaz.

The Neenah K9 Rec Center is not just a place for people to come train their dogs but build a relationship with their dogs.