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Influence Positively Interview: Christie Keith

Christie Keith is social media manager for The Shelter Pet Project, the first public service campaign promoting an animal welfare cause in the Ad Council's 60-year history.

After reading her column on SFGate.com for years, I was excited to not only meet Christie in person at the kick-off meeting for Maddie's Pet Adoption Days but get a selfie with her. During our short chat I knew she was a perfect addition to this interview series. Christie is the kind of person who uses her wit, thoughtfulness and mad skills so that the rest of us can make a difference in the lives of animals. If you get a chance to join in one of her webinars for Maddie's Institute, do it. You'll come away feeling empowered and smarter than you were an hour ago.


She also consults on social media and communications for a number of veterinary and animal welfare organizations, including Maddie's Fund and Dr. Marty Becker, the veterinarian on "The Dr. Oz Show" and "Good Morning America."

Learn more about this social media maven, and who inspires her the most as she answers our five light-hearted questions [...]

As a writer and editor, Christie's work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate.com, Bark Magazine, and the nationally-syndicated newspaper feature "Pet Connection." She is the past director of The Pet Care Forum on America Online as well as of the Veterinary Information Network's pet owner website, and was founding editor of VeterinaryPartner.com. She has spoken on marketing, PR, and traditional and new media at a number of animal sheltering conferences including the National No-Kill Conference, Best Friends' No More Homeless Pets, and HSUS Animal Care Expo. 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I'm not a good person for this type of question. My brain starts going, "There's no such thing as perfection. And does this mean happiness in the moment, or lifelong? And what is happiness anyway?" On one hand, you might say I tend to think in terms of fulfillment and service, rather than happiness. On the other hand, you might say I over-think things and really need to lighten up. Both hands would be right.

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be & why?

I love dogs and cats, but would not want to be one. I'm a writer, and they lack opposable thumbs and thus cannot type.

What is your pets most treasured possession?


Your proudest achievement so far?

My work with Gina Spadafori covering the 2007 pet food recall.

Who are your heroes in real life?

I lived in San Francisco, where I was born and grew up, during the San Francisco SPCA's "great experiment in compassion" in the 90s, when the modern no-kill movement was born. Rich Avanzino, who now heads up Maddie's Fund, was the moving force behind that, and from that day to this, he's one of my heroes.

Another hero of mine is Dr. Paul Pion, the co-founder of the Veterinary Information Network. His integrity and fearless willingness to take on entrenched power in the interests of science, animal health, and the veterinary profession is unequaled. His groundbreaking research into pet food saved the sight and lives of millions of pet cats with the identification of deficient taurine in commercial formulations of the time.

I also have great admiration for Elizabeth Warren, George Takei, Harvey Milk, and the late, great Molly Ivins.


But wait, there's more

We believe there are many people out there busy trying to postively influence the lives of animals.  Do you know someone? Tell us in an email who needs a spotlight shined on their work!


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