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Hi, I'm Kristi McNeeley! While I have loved animals since the moment I started forming memories, I was raised in a very normal non-animal fanatic suburban home. However, I was the kid in 3rd grade who checked out all the dog and horse books, and I just never grew out of that stage. Growing up we had a family dog and several cats. During high school, I joined the local FFA (for the future of agriculture) basically to convince my parents to allow me to get additional animals who could be kept at the school. This is how I became the owner of two sheep, three goats, a chicken, some ducks, and a rabbit during high school.
After high school, I went on to major in business at ASU and became an academic counselor after college, which pays the bills. However, even as I started my career I never lost my child like joy when it came to learning about animals. After adopting my amazing pitbull Lucy from the local open intake shelter, I decided to start volunteering there. My hours volunteering with rescue dogs, more experienced volunteers and a behavior team, taught me so much about dog behavior. Those experiences pushed me to want to learn more. Also while volunteering, one of my good friends suggested I pick up a camera and showed me the joy of being able to take better adoptable photos of dogs. Through her endless hours of help and advice, and her introducing me to HeARTs Speak, I found my second passion; photographing animals. Hearing someone say that a photo I took drew them into the shelter to meet and ultimately adopt a dog, is incredibly humbling and fulfilling. However, in 2020 volunteering, like everything else, was suspended.
During the pandemic, I decided to invest my free time into dog training podcasts, and then started bouncing the ideas I heard in those podcasts, off my good friend, Heather. Those conversations lead to changes in the ways we interacted with our own dogs, and the way we thought about animal behavior in general, which is why we thought it might be fun to allow others to join us in those conversations. And so, we created "Sometimes There's Side Eye".
Kristi and Lucy, photo by Pup + Me Photo.
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