Q&A with Amy Neil
Have you ever wondered what it what be like to ditch your 9-5 to follow your passion?
A self proclaimed “mom boss,” Amy Neil has always known that she wanted to help people. Previously a collegiate coach, she traded in people for their pooches full-time.
With the support of her husband, some amazing mentors, and dedication to becoming the best in her field, Amy has grown her side passion project into a booming business.
Self-promo time. What do you do?
I work with dogs and their humans. My mission is two fold. First, I bring support to owners whose dogs have behavioral issues ranging from general excitement to severe reactivity and aggression. Second, I use social media to help educate pet dog owners on how to create a healthy and confident relationship with their dog. The result is fewer dogs rehomed or sent to shelters because owners have the tools and support to work with their dogs.
You weren’t always canine bound. How’d you discover your passion for dogs?
I took a windy road to get to where I am. With a bachelors of science in Athletic Training, I did that for a year. I coached the throws events for Columbia University Track and Field, ran a farm, sold cars, and worked at a non profit. Dogs were an underlying theme the whole time, but I never thought of it as a feasible career. Then I had the cliche moment where I woke up one day and asked myself why I wasn’t following my passion. From there I put the blinders on and just started learning all I could about dogs.
Any tips for dog owners?
I want people to know if they are struggling with their dogs, ask for help. Asking for help is the hardest but most amazing thing that can be done for both humans and dogs. What I do is more than dog training, it’s a passion to help people feel like empowered, confident, and strong leaders. It’s an amazing process, and I am so grateful people allow me the opportunity to be a part of it.
I’ve gotta know. Do you have a favorite breed?
Haha, that’s a tough one! I have a running bucket list of breeds I’d like to own one day, boxer, basset hound, dalmatian, german shepherd, and bloodhound are all on my list. Beagle is my favorite, and not just because I own them! They make great family dogs, love a good run, clever as can be, and if you can harness their nose super eager to please, and don’t take up much space. On the flip side, they can be really big babies, too smart for their own good, and when they listen to their nose they ALWAYS wind up in biggggg trouble. I love both sides!
What is a typical day like for you?
We usually are all up around 6 and I help my husband leave for work. I get Ruby her breakfast then shoot my Morning Chit Chat video everyday. Around 10am Ruby and I head out for dog walks, we walk anywhere from 1 to 3 different dogs a day. Otherwise it’s totally dependent on how many training sessions I have, if I have a dog boarding at the house, or if there is group class that night.
What do you hope your daughter learns from watching you grow your business?
There are a lot of things I hope she learns, but the biggest thing would be to work hard for what you believe in and don’t worry what others think. Always bring positivity to the table. The struggle can get really REAL sometimes. It’s how you deal with the struggles that matters. I want her to understand that perseverance, determination, even a little stubbornness will take her a long way.
How has becoming a mom affected your professional goals?
It’s made me more tenacious and confident in the choices I make. In a really crazy way, becoming a mother afforded me the opportunity to grow my business. I quickly realized going to a traditional job, organizing childcare, giving my time to someone rather than myself just wasn’t working for me. I learned that working for myself was the only choice.
Finish this sentence: Before I had kids, I wish someone had told me…
About the little moments. When a diaper change becomes a tickle fest, the cuddles just after waking up, when “Daddy” gets home, sitting down for dinner. The most special moments happen at the most random times, make sure to enjoy them.
They say it takes a village. Who is your village?
It does take a village! Of course, my husband. My parents, his parents, many other family members alway willing to watch Ruby when we want to sneak away for a minute. Business wise, my coach and mentor Shane Kulman. Shane has helped me break down so many barriers that were in my way. Also, my dog training mentor, Tom Davis. It’s really nice having someone to fall back on in the field. He and I bounce a lot of things back and forth, it’s super affirming for me and helps me remember I am on the right path. By opening myself to all Shane and Tom have to offer, my business has really taken off.
What’s your best piece of advice for working moms?
Somedays you just need to slow down and be with your kids. Don’t ever feel obligated to miss the important moments with your kids because of someone else’s needs and desires. If you feel like you are missing those moments, then it’s time to slow down and re-evaluate what you are trying to accomplish.
I’m on a quest to having it all. Do you think you have it all?
I feel like having “it all” means being able to provide support to my family on OUR terms. Not having to work 9-5, providing time for adventures, not missing important moments, not answering to anyone else. Having “it all” means creating the life that works for us, even if it means breaking all the rules.
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