Photo of Golden Retriever dog playing in the creek.

Some Things You Might Not Know

by Kris Phillips

I absolutely, 100% totally & completely L-O-V-E what I do for a living. Truly! Being a pet photographer is about the best job in the world! I get to spend my time playing with awesome dogs all over Denver. I get to roll in the grass and explore the great outdoors. I get to hang out with other pet parents who love their pups as much as I love mine. All to create beautiful vibrant photos that reflect the wild spirit of canine athlete and couch dog alike.

But that’s not all I do. I’m also an adventure junkie!

Multiple weekends throughout the summer you will find me exhausted, sweaty, and covered in mud. Sometimes it means I’ve been on location photographing a wild pup. But sometimes it means I’ve been enjoying one of my crazier hobbies. Obstacle Course Racing, also known as OCR. About 6 years ago a friend of mine ran a Spartan race & shared her photos to Facebook. At the time I was recovering from a car accident and being told by my doctors I’d be lucky to continue walking, and that running was out of the cards. 6 months of bed rest had left me overweight, out of shape, and generally miserable. So when I saw her photos it felt like nothing more than wishful thinking when I said “some day I’m gonna do that too.” But when we moved to Denver 5 years ago we had to leave our big back yard behind, and the dogs demanded more exercise. So I started jogging. At first I couldn’t even jog a quarter mile without feeling like my lungs would explode. But little by little I got better, stronger, not much faster. I often compare my running style to a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter! HA! In 2016 I met another photographer who also had an interest in trying out OCR. So together we took the plunge and signed up for our first Rugged Maniac. Ever since then I’v been addicted! To date I’ve run 3 Rugged Maniacs, 3 Warrior Dashes, 2 Terrain Races, a Spartan Sprint. And my proudest achievement? In August I finished the 13 mile Spartan Beast in Breckenridge! I never liked running and honestly I still don’t. So why do I do this stuff? Because of the challenge. It reminds me that no matter what life throws at me, I just have to keep moving forward.

Being a dog photographer means I often find myself folding into the most awkward of positions to get “The Shot”. So flexibility and mobility are absolutely musts!¬†That car accident I mentioned was something of a career-ender. I had 2 ruptured disks in my back. A pain that I can only describe as someone jamming an ice pick into your spine. Some times it was a mild nagging pain and sometimes it was so severe I couldn’t move my legs. After months of physical therapy left me no closer to the normal active life I’d always lived the doctor recommended I go on disability. I was crushed, but also determined. My sister, a 500 hour Yoga Therapist, strongly encouraged me to strengthen my yoga practice. With lots of loving nudging I began to practice more consistently. Bit by bit and little by little my core got stronger and once again supported those damaged disks. The absolute best day of my life was when I was able to do “Up Dog”! You know how I love the outdoors, so it was only natural to incorporate my yoga practice into our adventures.

I love to combine the two at the finish line!

Finding balance between the hard-core, down & dirty of OCR and quite meditation of Yoga helps me to be a better athlete, a better human, and a better pet photographer.


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