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Newport Beach yoga instructor and her dog compete in Amazon’s ‘The Pack’

Newport Beach yoga instructor Chelsey Lowe, 30, and her Australian shepherd Gryffin.
Newport Beach yoga instructor Chelsey Lowe, 30, and her Australian shepherd, Gryffin, are competitors in Amazon’s new show “The Pack,” set to stream on Amazon Prime Video on Friday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Chelsey Lowe did interviews for a reality show in late fall last year.

She’d heard about the show from an agent for a friend of hers. Casting agents wanted to find a girl who was outdoorsy, adventurous and competitive. They wanted someone with a unique and strong bond with their dog, she recalled in a recent interview. Her and Gryffin, her Australian shepherd, are attached at the hip.

She took Gryffin — which is short for Gryffindor — everywhere.

“Gryffin’s my best friend,” Lowe said. “I take her everywhere with me. I’m a yoga instructor here in Orange County, so I bring her to my yoga classes. She’s my plus-one at all family gatherings. She’s my adventure buddy and she’s just always there for me when I come home from a long day. She’s always right by my side.”

So, she drove up to Los Angeles to do the first interviews. It happened really quickly. Almost out of the blue, Lowe said.

“I had no idea this show was going to be as big as it ended up becoming,” Lowe said. “But if I was to think of the perfect type of show for me and my dog to be on, this is a dream come true.”

Yoga instructor Chelsey Lowe, center, with Gryffin resting by her side, teaches an outdoor yoga class.
Yoga instructor Chelsey Lowe, center, with Gryffin resting by her side, teaches an outdoor yoga class near the dog beach in Newport Beach on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Lowe and Gryffin, residents of Newport Beach, are one of 12 competing teams on Amazon’s new show, “The Pack,” which will be available for streaming Friday on Amazon Prime Video.

Hosted by gold medalist skier Lindsey Vonn and her dog Lucy, “The Pack” takes the teams across the globe to compete in challenges for a prize of $500,000. The winning team will also earn an additional $250,000 for an animal charity of their choosing.

Lowe chose the Animal Welfare Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on reducing human-inflicted suffering on animals.

Lowe said she was intrigued by the show because she loves to travel, but what she missed most while traveling was Gryffin. She said it was a “no-brainer” to join if she was cast. Lowe, who grew up in Yorba Linda, said she was competitive by nature and played volleyball at UC Santa Barbara, where she went to college.

Some time thereafter, she got Gryffin.

Lowe said she adopted Gryffin about seven years ago on her way back from a road trip with a close friend. She said she’d been wanting a dog for some time when Gryffin came up on an online search.

“Gryffin was kind of on the way home, so we just made a stop and I got the money out and I brought her home at seven weeks old. It was kind of meant to be,” Lowe said. “It was kind of spur of the moment.”

Australian shepherd Gryffin looks on as her owner Chelsey Lowe, 30, teaches an outdoor yoga class.
Australian shepherd Gryffin looks on as her owner, Chelsey Lowe, teaches an outdoor yoga class near the dog beach in Newport Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Lowe said the best part of being on “The Pack” was when Gryffin saw the snow for the first time. She said the best experience was just getting to travel around the world with her dog. Though she couldn’t say how far she’d gotten at the risk of spoiling the show, Lowe said she felt like “The Pack” pushed them out of their comfort zones.

“I think it brought us even closer than it did before,” Lowe said.

Hulu’s new series turned to an array of performers, dialect coaches, translators and subtitlers to make its story in six languages as realistic as possible.

The biggest challenge was getting Gryffin to calm down when she got excited. Lowe said that it was difficult trying to calm her down so that Lowe could also focus on the tasks, but said that Gryffin’s energy sometimes worked both for and against their favor.

The show finished filming last year and Lowe’s back home in Newport Beach now with Gryffin, where Lowe teaches yoga classes at the beach and indoors with her little “co-teacher” at her side.

Looking forward, Lowe said her goal is to open a yoga center or a wellness retreat and bringing her dog to work as often as possible. She wants to expand her business and to keep traveling.

“With COVID though, I’ll probably end up getting a van and doing a trip with my dog throughout the United States,” she said.

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