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Check Out Kyla Nicole’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kyla Nicole.

Hi Kyla, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Everyone talks about the benefits of having an animal, a pet, and how it affects you and your mental wellbeing. When I was younger I wanted a PSD or ESA, but we were a dog-free house. I was adopted and grew up away from my family, I lost my mom and never got to have a proper relationship with my siblings. Growing up hundreds of miles away makes relationships with family difficult.

Due to bullying, I always struggled with making friends, my anxiety and insecurities got the best of me. I wanted a furry friend, someone who won’t cause drama and love you unconditionally. I always knew I wanted a dog, it would be something to focus on other than myself. Growing up my anxiety only got worse, with more pressure from the outside world and myself. Summer of 2020 I was raped.

After that, I went to my boyfriend at the time looking for comfort and a support system, instead, he told me no one would think well of me. Next thing I know I’m getting threats from his new girlfriend, saying I asked for it, and if she ever saw me it was “on sight.” I was just trying to cope with a terrible trauma and all of this made my anxiety, depression, and PTSD so much worse. I didn’t want to be alive, I couldn’t leave my house. Two years later and I am still working on going out in public by myself.

I knew I wanted an ESA, and I wasn’t ready to train a PSD. The honest truth was I was at a point where I felt like I had nothing to live for, I’ve been there many points and this time it was nothing new. I was suicidal and wanted to die, but I lost my best friend due to suicide in 2017 and saw firsthand how it affects everyone. I wanted something to live for, a reason to get out of bed, I had to keep my house clean, I had to go outside on walks. I needed a reason to stay alive, I needed something that depended on me, and I had to keep living for him.

I had to take care of myself for him. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here right now, so I can say my plan did work. I rescued him to save him and give him a home, but he also saved me. I adopted Harvey on April 23, 2021. I planned on getting a different dog, but I forgot the name of the shelter and stumbled across my current dog. I saw him and something in me screamed “he is the one.” I can’t explain the feeling I felt when I saw his picture for the first time, other than an instant click in my heart, I found my soulmate.

Right after I adopted Harvey he got sick with pancreatitis, and I was in and out of the hospital, not sure what was wrong with me. Eventually, I learned how much of a direct effect my stress and anxiety have on my physical health.

This was coming up on the one-year anniversary of my rape, and my mind and body couldn’t deal with remembering the trauma, so it decided to make me violently sick instead. Both of us being so sick, connected us to bond on a different level. I am close with both of my dogs (Harvey and Beans) but Harvey and I’s relationship is different. On July 10th, 2021, I adopted my second dog Beans a rescue Beagle.

How I got into pet photography: I went to a pet photographer to capture some puppy photos of my dog, and it was a terrible experience. I was scammed and never got the photos of my dog. I left the photoshoot upset and heard how upset others were too. I decided to go home and give it a try with my camera, after showing it to some friends they encouraged me to open up a pet photography business.

I started my business in October of 2021. In February I started doing events at different Pet Supermarkets in the area.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, learning how to run and operate a business is difficult, especially during a pandemic when everyone is having to learn and adapt. I deal with health issues related to my anxiety/stress that can cause issues on a daily basis.

My physical and mental health are my biggest challenges right now. January 1st was when I was planning on starting to do events, selling prints, and other products. Due to life throwing multiple roadblocks in my way with many challenges and my health issues, I am still now working on making all of those dreams come true.

My health issues are always going on but put me back on bed rest in December/January. I was at one of my lowest points, physically and mentally. But the hope of seeing where my business takes me is what keeps me intrigued and going.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Pet Photography. I take pictures whether studio portraits, themed even set-ups, outdoor shoots, or others. I am currently changing Playful Pup Pictures, a pet photography business, into The Playful Pup, which is more of a brand.

I am working on forming partnerships with other local pet services/businesses. I am going from just taking and selling pictures, to creating more of a brand, especially for dog owners in Jacksonville.

We are starting to slowly sell photo keychains, prints, koozies, bandanas, and more. We are also working on creating a blog with different resources for dog owners, with specified posts for people in the Jacksonville/NF area.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
A big thank you to 609 Beach Blvd. Pet Supermarket and the 13500 Pet supermarket, are where I currently do my events. Starting in June I will be working with two others pet supermarkets also in the area.

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