Pets in PR: Pinterest’s Kacy Ashley and her dog Harley

Of course she made an idea board for Harley on Pinterest.

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Over 23 million households in the U.S. welcomed a new pet into their home during the pandemic, according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 

Kacy Ashley, senior communications and employee inspiration programs manager at Pinterest, resides in one of them. In October, she got Harley, a mini Australian Shepherd. 

Ashley likens eight-month-old Harley to a baby. The pup, she says, requires as much attention and care as a human child would, and she always wants to play.

But Harley also brings Ashley the joy she didn’t know she needed. 

In this week’s edition of Pets in PR, Ashley discusses what it has been like to live (and work) with a pandemic pup. 

Why did you decide to get Harley during the pandemic?
When the pandemic started, I thought about getting a dog. But because everyone at that point in time was trying to rescue, it was nearly impossible to find one. 

But one day, I was at a softball game and my partner and I came across this mini Australian shepherd who was nine weeks old, and we just fell in love. We just had to have a similar breed. It was a big decision at that point, because one of the big concerns I had about getting a dog was that the only thing that dog would know is me being home full-time. I was afraid she would feel anxious when I went back to work. 

But we used a company called PuppySpot, which is an app that helps connect breeders and hopeful dog parents and we found Harley. 

How has your pet changed the way you communicate with colleagues?
When I got her, I didn't realize at the time that getting a puppy was basically like getting a baby. She became a part of phone calls, with me constantly sitting on the floor or showing her off. 

And what’s been most memorable is that when I got her, she was seven pounds and a tiny little thing. Now, she's still tiny but she's 30 pounds and there are people I hadn't been on a conference call with since I got her as a puppy. 

They see her now and they say, “She looks so different. She's so active. She's so sweet.” A lot of the time she looks straight at them in the camera from her spot on the bed and it's actually a part of the conversation. 

There have been times where we end our meetings and people will say, “We don't have any more business. Can we get our Harley fix?” It just brings so many other people joy seeing puppies to the extent we're trying to figure out if we should make puppy programming part of company programming. 

How has having her affected your mental health during lockdown?
Oh my gosh. For the most part, lockdown hasn't been too hard on me because I’ve been fortunate. But as soon as I got her, I just felt a total shift. I didn't realize how much I needed this puppy in my life. She just brings me so much joy that I didn't know I didn't have before. Working from home, I sometimes forget to feed myself because I'm just working, but having her and feeding her three meals a day has made me more responsible for feeding myself now too. 

Does Harley have a social media presence?
She has an Instagram account (@littleharley_miniaussie) and I've actually made an idea board for her on Pinterest. People love her. 

It's so funny because I created the Instagram page as a way to post photos of her that I didn’t want to on my account. But people respond to the photos and stories I post of her more than they respond to mine because she brings them joy or they're seeing her grow. 


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