From Tragedy to Triumph: Alice Pettey’s Journey in Healthcare Branding

Neurotic Dog Studios
Founder, Certified Brand Strategist

Differentiate Magazine
Founder, Editor

NDS Fonts
Font Designer

Business Operations
Planning Stickers (BOPS)




Chicken Wrangler

Dog & Cat Mom

Human Mom

Avid Reader

Occasional Podcaster

Cosplay Seamstress
(see human mom – lol)

Happy Planner© Junkie

Special Needs Advocate

Hello, I’m Alice Pettey, and my life’s work has been a testament to the potent force of branding. With more than twenty years in the design industry, I’ve been fortunate to experience first-hand the transformative capabilities that a strong brand can offer. My path began as an in-house designer but shifted to freelance work in 2012, influenced by personal commitments to my special needs son, Terry.

Origin of Neurotic Dog Studios

The conception of my business in 2014 started out as “Alice Pettey Branding & Strategic Design LLC”—yes, quite a mouthful. Aimed at transparency, the verbose title was, in reality, impractical and cumbersome. After five years, I opted for brevity and allure by adopting the name Neurotic Dog Studios. Contrary to what the title might suggest, my business wasn’t pet-centric. Instead, my co-workers were my two slightly neurotic but lovable dogs, Lady Calla Lily and Captain Calico Jack, affectionately known as Lilz and Ceege. These loyal fur babies serve as daily reminders to pause, play, and balance work with well-being.

Life’s Unexpected Turns

The timing of starting my freelance work wasn’t a calculated move but an unexpected twist of fate. In 2012, my full-time position was eliminated due to company downsizing, coincidentally aligning with a critical moment in my son Terry’s life. He was expelled from his public school, not for behavioral issues, but because the school could no longer accommodate his Moderate Intellectual Disability (MoID). This life event propelled us into the private education sector, financially supported by the county, giving me more time to balance work and family needs.

A Balancing Act

Between 2013 and 2020, my life was akin to a complex juggling act. I was simultaneously running Neurotic Dog Studios, managing a household, and attending to the needs of two high-school-going kids, as well as a special-needs child with a myriad of medical and behavioral challenges. Add in managing feelings of guilt, resentment, and overwhelm among family members, and you might say I was juggling flaming torches, not just balls.

The COVID Experience

Interestingly, the onset of COVID-19 minimally altered our family dynamics—except for my cherished late-night Walmart trips. The pandemic gave the world a sneak peek into the challenges we had faced for years. Our primary struggle was the cutback in medical services, which led to dire consequences for Terry.

Loss and Learning

The loss of my son in 2021 was heart-wrenching yet clarifying. His passing intensified my commitment to enhancing the brand identities of health and wellness providers. The roller coaster of emotions, coupled with an intricate understanding of the healthcare system, has profoundly impacted my outlook and deepened my sense of mission.

Branding Your Practice

My nearly decade-long project, “Branding Your Practice,” encapsulates my experience and aspirations. It’s not merely a how-to guide; it’s a catalyst for transformation. Its structure includes in-depth questionnaires that lead you through the process of establishing not just a visual identity but a holistic brand strategy.

Differentiate Magazine

To broaden my support for health and wellness practitioners, I launched Differentiate Magazine. The magazine aims to be a comprehensive resource, offering expertise beyond branding—because a successful practice requires a holistic approach to business management.

Beyond Work

When the laptop closes, I enjoy the richness of life by spending quality time with my family and our array of pets, including cats, dogs, chickens, and ducks. My hobbies, ranging from painting and sculpting to knitting and embroidery, offer a tactile contrast to my digital work life.

Final Thoughts

Life has been both a challenging and rewarding journey. Through the highs and lows, my focus remains steadfast—to make a meaningful impact through the power of branding.

Yours truly,